The Boston Bruins have been expected for some time to beef up their defensemen depth ahead of the NHL trade deadline, and that remains the case as of this weekend. Hockey Night in Canada and Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday night that the Boston Bruins continue to hammer the left side defenseman market and have pushed while being “in on” Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.
Certainly, a defenseman makes a whole lot more sense for the Bruins than chasing after a high-priced offensive wing like Chicago Blackhawks sniper Patrick Kane.
The 27-year-old Gavrikov has three goals and 10 points in 52 games for the Blue Jackets this season and had a breakout year last season with a career-high five goals and 33 points in 80 games after putting together four solid seasons in Columbus. The 6-foot-3, 221-pounder is in the last year of a contract paying him $2.8 million per season, which is exactly why the Blue Jackets are looking to unload him as a rental in a rebuilding situation for them.
“One of the reasons that Gavrikov was given the trade-related sit out is because the Boston Bruins are in on him. One of the issues is (salary) cap,” said Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada. “The Bruins have to do some things to make this work. We’ll see where this goes over the next couple of days. I think left D is an area Boston is targeting.”
HNIC 32: TOR trade/Bertuzzi/Canadiens/Bruins/Kulikov/Miller/Korpisalo/Trotz — https://t.co/aGaHPkKhhW
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 19, 2023
It’s interesting that the Boston Bruins are specifically looking at left side defenseman, but perhaps not surprising given often the 5-foot-9. 170-pound Matt Grzelcyk has suffered injuries during the Stanley Cup playoffs during his career. They are stacked with some great frontline D-men like Hampus Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy, and they have other great role-playing defensemen in Brandon Carlo, Grzelcyk, Derek Forbort and Connor Clifton while clearly needing at least one more capable body as insurance once the war of attrition with the D-men starts in the playoffs.
The other name mentioned in Friedman’s reporting continues to be Jakob Chychrun, but once again that’s going to require some salary cap gymnastics from the Bruins to make it happen. Not to mention the Bruins will likely have to part with a first round pick and a top prospect like Fabian Lysell, or Mason Lohrei, to land a player in Chychrun that’s a frontline defensemen signed for a couple more years after this current one at a very club-friendly cap number.
Gavrikov would likely be a cheaper alternative given his status as a rental and a player that doesn’t have the cachet of Chychrun, but not as cheap as two-time Stanley Cup winner and hard-hitting veteran Luke Schenn as a right-handed defenseman option.