According to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic (subscription required), the Columbus Blue Jackets are supposedly working on a new deal for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. While Gavrikov has only been under contract with the team for less than a year, he’s become an important piece to their blue line.
Gavrikov burned through the first year of his entry-level contract in the playoffs last season, so he’s a pending free agent this summer. Portzline reports that the Blue Jackets focus is a long-term extension. Just 24 years old, the Blue Jackets feel it’s best to keep him around as he grows into his game. Portzline writes:
“Gavrikov is a restricted free agent this summer, but the Blue Jackets and Millstein have already started working on a long-term contract extension. The Blue Jackets waited long enough for Gavrikov; now they want to keep him.
For most of this past season, head coach John Tortorella paired Gavrikov with David Savard on the second unit. He was used in more of a shut-down role, but the team believes Gavrikov has shown offensive instincts. His transition from the larger ice to the smaller North America ice have made him more effective than the team might have originally expected.
Tortorella said of his play, “There’s no frills.” He added, “At times he’s ugly, but he finds a way to be effective all the time. That’s what I appreciate about it.” He also noted that his puck skills were underrated.
At this point, what a long-term deal might look like is unclear.
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