What a nice addition this 2015, sixth round draft pick turned out to be.
Vladislav Gavrikov is in the middle of another nice season for the Columbus Blue Jackets and has proven to be a steadily important piece over his brief tenure.
Currently second among defensemen on the team with 16 points, he has as many assists (14) as Zach Werenski, and four fewer goals (two).
He picked up his career-high 14th assist (three-way tie for second-most on the team) on Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. He also leads the team with 14 even-strength assists.
With his primary assist on Max Domi's goal, Vladislav Gavrikov now has a career-high 14 assists through 32 games.— Dylan Tyrer (@DylanTyrer) January 7, 2022
His previous high was 13 helpers in 69 games during his rookie year. pic.twitter.com/tntoyGqYuM
The scoring play started with a created turnover by Gavrikov as the Blue Jackets regained possession in their own end.
Going up the ice into Devils territory, Max Domi wound up with the puck and dished it off to Cole Sillinger along the boards. Credit to Sillinger, who picked up a secondary assist on the play, as he got the puck out to Gavrikov before absorbing a hit.
As Domi kept driving to the net, Gavrikov shot the puck on goal at Mackenzie Blackwood, ultimately finding Domi in the right spot on the doorstep of the net as he jammed in the rebound for the game-tying first period goal.
The play was a thing of beauty, a highlight sequence play and resulting goal which feels like a sort of rarity among the Blue Jackets of late.
For the game, Gavrikov had one assist, three shots on goal, and two blocked shots (second on the team with 51), one of which specifically left him hurting a little bit. He played 22:08.
Vladislav Gavrikov clearly in some pain after blocking Jack Hughes' slap shot on the PK. But he's still able to clear the puck eventually. #CBJ— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) January 7, 2022
As young as Gavrikov still is at the age of 26, he's already played in 156 career games and is considered among the veterans of a young team. Particularly at his position on the blue line.
This is especially true amid daily roster turnover due to COVID protocols and more, so it's nice to be able to rely on Gavrikov as he represented the longest-tenured Blue Jacket on the back end Thursday night.
Career NHL games played, coming into tonight, by the #CBJ defensemen— Jeff Svoboda (@JacketsInsider) January 7, 2022
I'd be curious if there's any team even close to that level of inexperience. On the Devils, PK Subban has 788 games himself.
The Blue Jackets hope their big guns return soon, such as Werenski who's on COVID protocol, but Gavrikov provides a form of comfort.
Gavrikov has played a bulk of his time this season with new Blue Jacket Adam Boqvist. He's also played alongside Andrew Peeke, with others sprinkled in and about. There was more change on Friday as Scott Harrington was sent back to the Cleveland Monsters after residing on the Blue Jackets taxi squad.
Gavrikov has one more season on his contract, which has an AAV of $8.4 million before the 2023 UFA will be up for a new deal and raise.
He and the Blue Jackets will get back to work Saturday night at Nationwide Arena as they complete their home-and-home matchup with the Devils.