Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov has been under contract for less than a year now but because he burned the first year of his entry-level pact in the playoffs last season, he will be in need of a new deal this summer. Talks on a new contract have begun, reports Aaron Portzline of The Athletic (subscription required), who adds that the focus is on getting a long-term deal done.
The 24-year-old has been a key part of the back end for Columbus this season, logging just shy of 19 minutes a night while chipping in with five goals and 13 assists. While those don’t jump off the charts at first glance, he has been able to provide a steady performance on a team that has been hit hard by the injury bug this year; his 69 games played leads all Blue Jackets defensemen.
Gavrikov will be owed a qualifying offer of just over $874K, a five percent bump on his salary this season which excludes his signing bonus. Although he is in line to qualify to earn half of his $850K in Schedule ‘A’ bonuses, those aren’t factored into the required offer.
It’s worth noting that while Gavrikov’s deal will be up, he won’t be a typical restricted free agent. Because of a lack of professional experience, he’s classified as a 10.2 (c) player in the CBA which means he is unable to be offer-sheeted and does not have any eligibility for salary arbitration.
It’s not surprising that Columbus wants to work out a long-term deal with Gavrikov. He’s someone that they waited for basically four years to come over after being drafted and there is minimal stability on their back end in terms of current players under contract. No one is signed past 2021-22 while veterans Ryan Murray and David Savard are eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2021 so there is some potential for a lot of turnover in the next little while. Getting Gavrikov signed up for the foreseeable future would at least lock one important part of their back end in place.