While the 2019-20 NHL season has come to a likely anti-climactic end, given the current pandemic, there are still things to look forward to with this organization. One of those is that the Columbus Blue Jackets continue to value talent at its face value, and restricted free agent defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov is a prime example of that statement.
TSN reported less than 48 hours ago that Jarmo Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets are looking to extend the stay of the Russian blueliner. At just 24 years old, and only a single season under his belt, Gavrikov has won the respect of the fans and the organization alike, and has undeniably proven his value to the vision that Columbus has going forward.
It has become ever apparent that the leadership has gotten behind the vision of head coach John Tortorella in the fact that you win from the back, hence why Columbus currently sports one of the deepest corps of defensive talent. This message has been driven even further home in the fact that Gavrikov, a truly defensive-minded blueliner with little flash to his game, is highly valued by the organization.
And while his game does not have the same flash as most "new age" defenseman, it needs to be said that he is a truly superb defensive talent that fits into the system.
With all his defensive abilities aside, Gavrikov should see a healthy boost to his annual salary. He signed with the Blue Jackets two seasons ago for an annual average salary of $925,000, and with what he has produced in that time it would be entirely unsurprising to see him make a jump into the range of fellow Blue Jackets blueliner Markus Nutivaara and push the $3-million mark.
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