At the beginning of the week, the Columbus Blue Jackets knew that they still had to re-sign Vladislav Gavrikov and Pierre-Luc Dubois to new deals. A stalemate had materialized and it wasn't immediately clear when each player would be signed. While it seemed like everyone was about to bunker down for long negotiations, the Blue Jackets re-signed Gavrikov to a three-year deal with an AAV of 2.8 million a year.
While it is good that the team have him under contract, it begs the question, where does it put the rest of the team for the upcoming season.
The Blue Jackets aren't in any sort of long drawn out battle with their star forward but it will only get more interesting with Dubois being the only deal not done. It is unclear whether the Canadian forward wants a long term deal or a short term one, Dubois is going to be raking in money regardless.
With just over $9 million in cap space, the Blue Jackets have the room to sign him but the game begins to see how low they can get him and give themselves some wiggle room for a UFA or even a cap dump that a team may be needing.
It also gives a tiny bit of a pathway to what the Blue Jackets might be looking at in regard to bringing in a free agent. It is believed given what others have received that Dubois should be hovering around $6 million a year give or take a million depending on the term.
With that being said, that gives the team around $3 million to play around with if they wanted to bring in a name player. With that kind of money, a name player isn't who is going to come walking through the door so it looks like a bargain bin player could be the move. Rehabilitation of a player like Andreas Athanasiou could be interesting and would add even more speed to a lineup that is now dripping with it.
The Blue Jackets are walking Gavrikov immediately up to unrestricted free agency which is a peculiar position for the team to be in. It isn't an especially long deal but when looking at the other defensemen, you see that Werenski and Jones will be needing deals the year before Gavrikov. Add to the fact that those deals will be tough and could be extremely important given how the expansion draft unfolds, Gavrikov with a third-year gives the team some flexibility and certainty with the cap that they need then.
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