4:55 pm: While Gavrikov has likely played his last game in Columbus, ESPN’s Kevin Weekes doesn’t expect a trade to come tonight. He tweeted Tuesday afternoon that “nothing is imminent” regarding Gavrikov and that Columbus remains aggressive in trying to find a trade partner.
9:34 am: We have a new catchphrase in the NHL. Vladislav Gavrikov will be held out of tonight’s Columbus Blue Jackets’ lineup for “trade-related reasons.” The big defender has been one of the top trade targets for weeks, given his expiring contract and versatility.
Gavrikov, 27, carries a cap hit of just $2.8MM, meaning basically any contender in the league could fit him in with some creative accounting. Given that Chris Johnston of NorthStar Bets is reporting no trade is imminent, this move will likely cause all interested teams to put together their best offer.
This isn’t a player that will wow you offensively, but Gavrikov can do just about everything else. He is physical, defends hard, blocks a ton of shots, and can help any penalty kill. Plus, even though offense isn’t his calling card, he can effectively move the puck out of his end – not just bang it off the glass. That’s how he ended up with 33 points last season, even if that number is probably going to be a career-high or close to it.
At last year’s deadline, defensive defensemen with expiring contracts brought back a significant amount at the deadline. Josh Manson cost a second-round pick, and prospect Drew Helleson, while Ben Chiarot even landed a first-round pick for the Montreal Canadiens. The former ended up winning a Stanley Cup and re-signing, while the latter didn’t contribute much in the postseason, and then moved on in free agency.
You can see how it might be difficult to jump into the bidding on a player like Gavrikov, even if he fits a need. In this case, Gavrikov’s agent has already been given permission to discuss an extension with interested teams. That will maximize the Blue Jackets’ return and give acquiring clubs a bit of security past this one playoff run.
Given his age, an extension is buying out prime years for the big Russian. Gavrikov won’t turn 28 until late November.