The Columbus Blue Jackets have found themselves at the bottom of the league standings through 48 games, with a total of just 33 points. Injuries have been a major factor contributing to their lack of success, but ultimately it is just not yet the right time for the team to jump into a new competitive era.
Moving in the Wrong Direction
As a result of their position in the standings, as we approach the one-month countdown to the NHL trade deadline, some players on this team will become available for trade. Pending UFA Gustav Nyquist, who is having a respectable season, would be a solid depth option for teams looking for a forward. Jack Roslovic and Sean Kuraly may garner interest, though they have years left on their contracts.
One of the most intriguing names on the Blue Jackets’ roster is Vladislav Gavrikov. A quiet, shutdown defender, he does not stand out or make the flashy, highlight reel play. But he is a player that can be relied on to prevent offense and play reliable, consistent, defensive hockey.
Gavrikov is a bigger player, standing at 6’3” and 213 pounds, and knows how to make the most of it. He may not throw hits but he can use his frame to block lanes and wear down attacking players. With a career high 28 assists and 33 points in 2021-22, there may be some untapped playmaking potential from him, were he to be placed in the right situation.
Any Vladislav Gavrikov trade is likely to fetch a hefty return, based on reported asks from the Blue Jackets and comparisons with trades in recent years. Notably, the Ben Chiarot trade from the 2021-22 NHL Trade Deadline, which was a first-round and fourth-round pick with a prospect. Also, the David Savard trade, in which the return was a first and third-round pick.
The Blue Jackets are asking for a first-round pick and a third-round pick in return for Gavrikov. The pending UFA may fetch a higher price if they agree to a contract extension over the summer.
Which teams would be in on a Vladislav Gavrikov trade? Who would require his services for a playoff push?
1) Ottawa Senators
The Ottawa Senators are not really in a playoff hunt at this point. But, they are looking for ways to improve the team, specifically the defense. A shutdown player like Gavrikov would be an excellent compliment on their second pairing and an addition to their penalty kill.&nbsp;
Gavrikov would not be a rental for the Senators, this trade would likely be contingent on signing a long-term contract extension in Ottawa. But a defender like this would be a huge upgrade in the Senators’ defensive depth that is worth pursuing.
Although it is a bit early for Ottawa to begin trading away draft picks as they try to exit the rebuild, they have one of the stronger prospect pools in the league and it may be worth the risk to part with a first round pick. Potentially, making it a 2024 or later pick once the team is more competitive.
2) Edmonton Oilers
Another year, another Oilers team in need of defense. If there is a defender on the trade market, you bet the Edmonton Oilers are in on him. Gavrikov is no exception.
He seems to be exactly what the Oilers need right now. A quiet, solid, shutdown defender to play alongside Evan Bouchard on the second pairing and help to take some of the pressure off of Darnell Nurse on the left side. A reliable option to play difficult minutes, tough matchups, and help the penalty kill.
Perhaps the biggest appealing factor for Gavrikov as a rental option in Edmonton is the cap hit. The Oilers are tight against the cap right now so his $2.4 million is much easier to fit than some other options on the trade market.
It is well within win-now mode time in Edmonton, and if they are to be contenders as was expected this offseason, the Oilers may need to pay a huge price to acquire Gavrikov as a rental this trade deadline. They have the draft picks to swing it, though it will come at the expense of an already average prospect pool.
3) Washington Capitals
Going into the season, the Capitals were close to being written off. An aging and injured roster kept getting more and more hurt as the days went on. But the team banded together, put up a lengthy winning streak and hot stretch that left them in a competitive spot in the Metropolitan Division. They currently sit close to the third divisional spot but hold a wild card playoff spot.
As it is hitting the end of the competitive window the Washington Capitals, would they want to delay the start of a rebuild for another season to go for one last playoff run? It could be their last chance. Even though the team’s main focus is Alex Ovechkin chasing the all-time goals record, another Stanley Cup might be nice too.
If Washington were to want to make a deadline move to improve the team, defense is a quick and easy spot to pinpoint room for improvement. Dmitry Orlov, Erik Gustafsson, and Matt Irwin patrol the left side at the moment. The addition of Gavrikov would help shore things up a bit.
Those are three teams that might be interested in a Vladislav Gavrikov trade. Where do you think he will end up at the NHL’s Trade Deadline? Drop a comment down below!
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