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HomeSportsMATHESON: Columbus D-man Vladislav Gavrikov just visiting Edmonton for now

MATHESON: Columbus D-man Vladislav Gavrikov just visiting Edmonton for now

In the event you’re a part of Oilers Nation, there’s not a complete lot to get enthusiastic about when the Thirty second-ranked Columbus Blue Jackets drop by Rogers Place on  Wednesday.

OK, possibly you favored Johnny Gaudreau when he was in Calgary, and Patrik Laine can actually shoot the tablet, however you may wish to regulate No. 4, Vladislav Gavrikov.

You are reading: MATHESON: Columbus D-man Vladislav Gavrikov just visiting Edmonton for now

He’s a defensive defenceman, not attractive, in any respect, like most of his breed. However quietly, very competent. And, as everyone knows, he’s any person the Edmonton Oilers are as a rental with the commerce deadline 5 weeks away, together with Toronto and others.

He doesn’t have Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun’s offensive acumen. He’s not snarly like Montreal’s Joel Edmundson, who has a Stanley Cup ring (St. Louis). Each gamers have time left on their contracts (as does one other potential goal, Chicago’s Jake McCabe), so there may be value certainty for the wage cap for GM Ken Holland. However additionally they could be a road-block to your 2019 first-round draft Philip Broberg, who’s approaching. So a sticking level …

By way of the Oilers, what they’re speaking about is that this: Is Gavrikov an improve on Brett Kulak as a second-pairing left D behind Darnell Nurse? If not, there’s little sense entertaining a deal, and giving up a first-round choose and extra, even for a participant who solely turned 27 two months in the past, not 30 as, say, one other Columbus Blue Jackets defensive D David Savard was in 2021 when he went to Tampa Bay for a first-round (2021) and third-round (2022) draft choose.

If the Oilers had been commerce for Gavrikov, it could be for now, to assist Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl this playoff. it’d solely be a take a look at drive as a result of he’s going to get way more than his present $2.8 million wage in free company in July (possibly $2 million greater than that), and the Oilers don’t have the cap room.

However we’ll see what occurs.

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For now, his coach Brad Larsen applauds the the Russian-born Gavrikov, saying “he’s a really heavy participant, superb at killing a cycle, strikes nicely north/south, good on his skates” even when his value within the NHL is commonly clouded on a workforce that provides up tons of offensive probabilities. He isn’t going to run anyone by the boards, however that’s advantageous. He’s positionally sound, once more having to defend quite a bit as a result of the puck spends a lot time in Columbus’s finish.

He’s secure and dependable, and solely -5 in 46 video games.

“He’s an enormous physique, performs plenty of minutes, kills penalties. He’s any person we depend on closely,” mentioned Larsen. “It’s a tough place. You possibly can speak about goalies and centremen however while you’re taking part in 20 minutes each evening within the NHL, you’re taking up an enormous workload.”

“Some defensive defencemen are extra assertive than others. Some are extra aggressive. Some are large and powerful like Gavrikov,” mentioned a long-time professional scout who feels Gavrikov is healthier than Savard and has the requisite instruments and mindset to be a very good shutdown D even when he’s not outwardly imply.

“Individuals confuse defensive with aggressive … Calgary’s obtained that (Chris) Tanev. He’s an important defender. The defensive defencemen who play the longest preserve vitality and play the dots (contained in the face-off circles). We now have this tendency to assume that large defencemen who aren’t initiators, who aren’t abusive, nicely then they’re mushy. They usually’re not. Gavrikov is nice.”

Gavrikov is his fourth season with Columbus after they drafted him out of Russia in 2015, and he didn’t come over till he had performed 5 years within the KHL with Yaroslavl and SKA St. Petersburg. He has an outgoing character. His recreation might not be flashy, however he’s a bubbly man. He seems to play the sport like Marc-Edouard Vlasic used to in his heyday in San Jose. The great defensive defencemen make the play undergo them. Gavrikov breaks up performs together with his stick-work, he takes folks out of the play, usually with effectivity and financial system.

And Gavrikov goes by what Savard went by as a UFA and certain getting traded with the Blue Jackets extra within the Connor Bedard lottery sweepstakes than any playoff desires. He may very well be getting a snapshot of his subsequent workforce in opposition to the Oilers on Wednesday.

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“Yeah, I’ve heard it (Oilers curiosity). However I favor to dwell within the current. You by no means know what is going to occur sooner or later. I’m attempting to not fear about it now. Simply attempting to win each recreation (for Columbus),” he mentioned.

Defencemen on unhealthy groups are sometimes overwhelmed. It’s a battle to look good, however Gavrikov deflects that concept. “It’s a battle for everyone, defence, goalies, trainers while you don’t win. It’s arduous to take, it’s troublesome for the workforce,” he mentioned.

As for trades on the deadline, Gavrikov is aware of the Savard deal was a house run.

“So far as I do know, he gained the Stanley Cup. I used to be so completely satisfied for him. I texted him proper after that. Typically it occurs (gory to glory),” he mentioned.

Gavrikov didn’t make it to the NHL till he was 22, after the Blue Jackets drafted him within the sixth spherical and he stayed in Russia. His NHL baptism got here in Sport 5 of the second-round of the playoffs in opposition to Boston in 2019. “That was robust, first recreation in opposition to the Bruins in Boston. The collection was tied 2-2 and Torts (previous coach John Tortorella) put me into the lineup. You possibly can’t think about how I felt the day earlier than when he advised me: ‘You’re in tomorrow,’ ’’ mentioned Gavrikov, who didn’t have any issues adapting to the smaller North American ice.

“I performed my world junior (Russia) in Toronto in opposition to Canada within the remaining, in opposition to (Connor) McDavid. Yeah, he scored within the remaining. It was a breakaway, I believe he scored 5-hole,” mentioned Gavrikov, who had Ilya Sorokin and Ivan Barbashev as teammates at that occasion.

“In Toronto, the final recreation, we come out for the warmup and there’s 20,000 folks there all carrying white Canadian jerseys. Nothing may very well be higher.”

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