Why the Bruins should steer clear of Vladislav Gavrikov at the trade deadline

"I think there's still some 'sticker shock' on the price."

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (4) plays against the Nashville Predators during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn.
Vladislav Gavrikov is set to hit free agency this summer. Mark Zaleski / AP

Another day, another report linking the Bruins to a defenseman dangling out on the trade market.

The 2022-23 Bruins have few flaws in their lineup, especially on the blue line. But whether it be another star talent like Jakob Chychrun or more of a stay-at-home body with snarl, it’s clear that Don Sweeney is kicking the tires on just about any target that can put this D corps over the top. 

And according to new reports, the Bruins are taking a long look at Blue Jackets blueliner Vladislav Gavrikov.

Much like Chychrun in Arizona, Columbus is protecting its assets in Gavrikov ahead of the March 3 trade deadline. The 27-year-old defenseman has not skated for the Jackets since Feb. 11, with the team scratching Gavrikov moving forward for “trade-related reasons.”


The left-shot defenseman will likely draw plenty of suitors, given that his physical style of play is usually coveted during the gauntlet that awaits in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Boston reportedly agrees with such a sentiment, with Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli tabbing the Bruins as a “front-runner for Gavrikov’s services.”

The Bruins don’t necessarily have a vacancy on the left side of their defense, especially with Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort eating up minutes with Hampus Lindholm. But adding a heftier option like Gavrikov could give Jim Montgomery and the Bruins an abundance of options when it comes to rolling out the best six-man unit this spring.

But in a deadline feeding frenzy where the Bruins will likely have no shortage of potential targets, a player like Gavrikov simply isn’t worth the hassle.

And a lot of it comes down to the reported asking price.

With Gavrikov set to hit free agency this summer, the Blue Jackets don’t exactly have a lot of leverage in trade talks centered around the defenseman.

Granted, physical veteran D-men tend to see their value inflated around the deadline. Two years ago, the Lightning relinquished both a first and third-round pick for pending UFA David Savard. Last March, the Panthers gave up a prospect, 2023 first-round pick and 2022 fourth-round selection for Ben Chiarot.


Both Savard and Chiarot added some structure to their new defensive units, and eventually signed with different teams that subsequent summer.

Gavrikov might follow a similar script to whatever team trades for him, in terms of both cost and his offseason plans.

“As good as the cap looks on Gavrikov for the Oilers and other teams, I think there’s still some ‘sticker shock’ on the price because the Blue Jackets are sticking, at least to this point, to a three-draft pick kind of return: a first, a third and a fourth at least one team was told this week and I think what makes that even tougher is the fact that this player is a pending unrestricted free agent,” TSN’s Chris Johnston said during TSN’s “Insider Trading” segment earlier this week. 

That’s a lot to give up for a defenseman in Gavrikov who apparently isn’t interested in mapping out a long-term extension any time soon.

“It doesn’t sound like he’s inclined to talk to whatever team ends up acquiring him about an extension at this point in time and so you’d be spending those three assets for a rental player who probably wants to become a free agent this summer,” Johnston added.


If the Bruins want to add a depth option that can log PK minutes and inflict welt against the opposition, they can likely pry another asset that won’t require so much draft capital, be it Luke Schenn or another bruiser.

Boston might be all-in on this season as it looks to give Patrice Bergeron and its veterans another promising Cup run.

But if the Bruins are adding to an already effective defensive unit, it needs to be a clear upgrade that also offers stability.

Yes, acquiring a defenseman like Chychrun will cost a ton (at least two first-round picks and a blue-chip prospect). But the 24-year-old ‘Yotes skater would give Boston the best top-four grouping in the league, and is locked in for another two more seasons.

Adding Chychrun to an already-stacked roster would be a complete luxury for the Bruins. But it’d be a move that makes Boston much better for both this stretch and in the years ahead.

A big body like Gavrikov (6-foot-3, 213 pounds) would give Boston a new dynamic on the back end. But surrendering three picks for a player who already might have one foot out the door just isn’t worth it, not for a player with Gavrikov’s steady floor, but low ceiling.


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