According to Sportsnet NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, the Boston Bruins are a finalist in the NHL trade sweepstakes for Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.
Before their game against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night, the Blue Jackets announced that Gavrikov would be a healthy scratch due to ‘trade-related reasons’ increasing the NHL betting odds that he will be dealt before the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline.
LINEUP UPDATE: Blue Jackets D Vladislav Gavrikov will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game vs. New Jersey. He is being held out of the lineup for trade-related reasons. #CBJ
— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) February 14, 2023
Appearing on the NHL Network later in the day, Friedman gave his take on the announcement and cited the Boston Bruins as a team still very much in pursuit of acquiring the 27-year-old, 6-foot-3, 221-pound rearguard who has three goals and seven assists in 52 games this season. Vladislav Gavrikov is in the final season of a three-year contract that carries a $2.8M AAV.
“With Gavrikov, I think the thing with him is: it’s not exactly a secret that he’s going to be traded,” Friedman said. “I believe he turned down a contract extension from Columbus, and the other thing with him too now is that teams have had permission for a few weeks now that they can speak to his representatives about an extension. So it’s not like this comes as a huge surprise to people. I think what the difference is now, as you guys said, is he’s been told he’s not going to play; he’s been put in the bubble wrap.
So, I think the teams that we’re talking about here are Boston; I think potentially Toronto, though I think the Maple Leafs are looking at a forward. I think L.A. has some interest particularly if they don’t get Chychrun done, but I think the hangup with L.A. is that I think L.A. wants him done before they trade for him. L.A. wants guys with term, and I think there’s probably a couple of other teams out there too. Edmonton, I think was in on Gavrikov, I’m not convinced they’re still there. Those were the big three or four big teams I was looking at; I always assume there’s two or three teams there I’m not thinking about.”
— NHL Network (@NHLNetwork) February 15, 2023
Friedman also wondered whether this announcement was related to the sudden stall in NHL trade talks between the Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes on Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, whom numerous sources have confirmed to Boston Hockey Now that the Bruins are also still trying to acquire. However, if you’re an NHL betting fan, the odds aren’t high that the Bruins land the biggest blue line fish on the market
“The thing that’s most interesting to me now is that Arizona said on Saturday that they weren’t going to play him; on Monday they said they’re not going to play him anymore, and look a lot of us were talking about L.A. – I always worry about saying these things because one phone call could change everything, but the L.A. thing seems stalled,” Friedman opined. “As I talk to you right now, just this afternoon, it seems stalled and not close. It can always change but that’s where we are.
I think and I’m wondering if Columbus, which has had interest in Chychrun before, in any desire wants to trade Gavrikov and use what they get to help trade for Chychrun. I think they like Chychrun and they like the idea of trading for a player with term. I think the only potential flaw in this whole scenario is Chychrun made it clear he wants to go to a contender, Columbus isn’t there right now. He doesn’t have trade protection but how would he feel about that?”