NHL insider: ‘Everything points’ to Bruins as landing spot for Vladislav Gavrikov

The reported asking price for Gavrikov is three draft picks, including a first-round selection.

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 averaging over 22 minutes of ice time per game this season with Columbus. Mark Zaleski / AP

The Bruins are reportedly on the brink of adding another top-four blueliner to their already stacked D corps.

In his latest 32 Thoughts column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman reported that “ “everything points to Massachusetts as the landing spot” for Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.

It’s the latest in a long line of trade whispers linking the Bruins to the 6-foot-3 D-man.

Ever since Frank Seravalli tabbed the Bruins as a “front-runner for Gavrikov’s services” last week, both Columbus and Boston have been routinely mentioned as likely trade partners. 

The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline wrote over the weekend that “it’s believed the Jackets have a trade in place [involving Gavrikov] that requires another transaction to take place first,” with the Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta adding Tuesday that both teams do “have the framework of a trade in place.”


But Matt Porter of The Boston Globe added on Monday that the Bruins “did not have a deal for Gavrikov in place” over the weekend, tweeting later on Wednesday afternoon that both parties “hadn’t settled on a deal”. 

Still, where there’s smoke … there seems to be plenty of fire as far as Boston’s pursuit of the 27-year-old Russian.

Boston may not have a vacancy on the left side of its defense with Hampus Lindholm, Matt Grzelcyk, and Derek Forbort in place. But adding Gavrikov would give Jim Montgomery plenty of options when it comes to augmenting Boston’s defense to match up against various opponents during the postseason.

He may not be a top-pairing stalwart like a Jakob Chychrun, but Gavrikov eats minutes (22:20 average TOI per game), blocks shots and kill penalties with regularity.

Despite his physical profile, Gavrikov isn’t exactly a bruiser out there on the ice. Rather, he’s similar to other stay-at-home D-men like Brandon Carlo and Forbort, who use their size, stick positioning, and D-zone instincts to clear pucks out of danger.

With Gavrikov in place, Boston would boast the deepest seven-man grouping on defense going into the postseason, giving Montgomery a good problem to have in terms of allocating minutes.


But the top question mark surrounding Gavrikov and his fit in Boston revolves more around Columbus’s reported asking price.

“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 the network’s “Insider Trading” segment last week.

Add in the fact that there’s no guarantee that Gavrikov will sign an extension with a Bruins team already starting at a potential cap crunch this summer, and coughing up three draft picks for a rental that doesn’t exactly address a major lineup vacancy might be a tough sell.

Another snag in any potential Gavrikov deal is Boston’s current cap situation. Even though the Columbus skater only accounts for a $2.8 million cap hit, Boston currently holds just $33,491 in cap space (per CapFriendly). 


As such, Friedman said that it’s “believed the Bruins needed another move to make everything work” in a Gavrikov deal, listing both Craig Smith and Mike Reilly as potential cap casualties in order to make Boston fiscally compliant.

One interesting note from Friedman involved Boston dealing Smith to a fellow Eastern Conference powerhouse. Even though the Carolina Hurricane are likely pursuing a top-six target like Timo Meier, Friedman believes that the ‘Canes have “spoken to the Bruins about Smith”, with Carolina having the means to take on his remaining contract.

Still, Boston may not exactly be inclined to hand a roster regular to arguably its most daunting competition in Carolina. And even though Smith’s numbers have regressed this season, his shot-heavy style would fit in well with Rod Brind’Amour’s system.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on