Columbus Blue Jackets: Defense Deployments

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Battalion Outlook: Part 1

Is not the issue for the Blue Jackets as of late, they are a different team than last season, whereas they actually shoot the puck. Passing has improved and rookies, aside from Chinakhov, regularly get ice time: i.e. Sillinger.

The Team ranks 12th in Goals For out of 32, whereas in 2020-2021 offensive output was a dismal 29th out of 31st for the same statistic.

Defense Deployments: Vladislav Gavrikov

Vladislav Gavrikov is a 3rd-year defenseman, who in his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets has shown some offensive brilliance and a lot of grit. His professional career began in the KHL with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and was drafted by the team in 2015, 159th overall. In his last year in the KHL, he was a 20 point offensive defenseman, with SKA St. Petersburg in 60 games, prior to his 1st year in Columbus.

He signed his two-year, ELC with Columbus in April of 2019.

His transition to the NHL was quick, as he scored his first NHL goal in November that year, as a rookie on then St. Louis veteran, Jake Allen. He finished 2019-2020, with 69 games underneath his belt, 18 points tallied and would register 3 points in 10 playoff games.

Outlook for 2021-2022

As of right now, 28 games in for the season and the December break and Gavrikov has already matched the Bubble years offensive output, with a +6. So unlike a lot of current(by current I mean new) Blue Jackets Defensemen, he has a lot of grit that yields positives in addition to his 2-way style of play.

“When he played with (Savard), I called him the ‘Octopus’ and the other guy was a lumberjack,” Larsen said of Gavrikov, who stands 6-foot-3, 213 pounds. “He’s just got tentacles”

Brad Larsen via Dispatch Sports

He is an aggressive player, who was a perfect partner on the second pairing, with David Savard and since then we have seen, where Gavrikov has had to step into a new role in the squad. He and Werenski will have to guide guys like Bean, Boqvist, and Carlsson(who has been sent down to the Monsters off and on) into a successful defensive core.

It goes without saying, he has a good amount of offensive upside, as someone who has a great shot, I’d like to see him on the 2nd Power-Play squad. The Blue Jackets have a great way of picking players from the KHL whose development time is shorter and he is an example of this philosophy.

Andrew Peeke

Selected 34th overall in the 2016 draft, Peeke is also a 3rd-year Defenseman currently on the 3rd pairing, with Jake Christiansen on call-up due to Covid-19 currently tearing through the NHL.

He got his call up in December of 2019, and that year was also a 3rd pairing Defenseman with Gavrikov at the time.

Prior to his three successful seasons in Notre Dame, as Captain(2018-2019), he was a big fan of Shea Weber and the Florida Panthers. He finished his time in South Bend, Indiana with 52 points in 119 games played.

Labeling a defenseman as the “shut down” variety is not only cliche, but extremely subjective. Peeke, however, is in our view the draft’s best one-on-one defender, and it means something when you can impact a game’s complexion with this ability. He is big and mobile, using an active stick and mammoth wingspan to fix onrushing opponents into a failed decision.

Steve Kournianos via The Draft Analyst

Outlook for 2021-2022

Seeing Peeke give the Dallas Stars offence trouble in front of the net, personally in October was not only satisfying to me but also, was just part of him passing the visual test in my opinion.

Currently not a 2-way Defenseman in my opinion, but he has offensive upside as proven in his Collegiate career and Larsen should figure out how to utilize his full abilities. He has earned the love of the 5th Line as someone who will protect the crease, rightfully so.

In his 3-year NHL career, he only has 2 goals and 11 assists for 13 points total, which is something to build upon.

Jarmo showed his belief in him by signing him for a 2-year contract, in August 2021 with an AAV of $1.575 Million.

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