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2018 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: #19 Vladislav Gavrikov

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The Russian blue liner can make a good defense elite in 2019

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 14 Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Next up in our series: #19 VLADISLAV GAVRIKOV

Voting

19th out of 55 eligible players (657 points)
Highest placement: #7 (1 ballot)
Most common placement: #20 (10 votes)

Biography

Birthdate: November 21, 1995
Birthplace: Yaroslavl, Russia
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 205 lbs
Position: Defenseman
Acquired: Drafted by Columbus in Round 6 of the 2015 draft (#159 overall)

2017-18 Season

Prior to last season, Gavrikov was traded to SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL and signed to a two year deal. He scored 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 50 games with a +/- of 21. He was +7 in 15 playoff games with a goal and 4 assists. The highlight of his season was competing in the Olympic hockey tournament. In 6 games Gavrikov scored a goal and 3 assists, with a +6 rating as the Olympic Athletes from Russia won Gold

2018-19 Forecast

Gavrikov will return to SKA for the final year of his contract. Next summer he will have a choice between staying in Russia or coming over to America and beginning his Blue Jackets career. These quotes from last summer seem to suggest that playing in the NHL is still a goal of his:

MTV: In Columbus probably people are shocked to see you staying in the KHL.

VG: I have to thank the Blue Jackets for their invitation, and for the attention the team gives to me. Everyone here [in Columbus] is a true professional with much experience. Of course it will be great to play in the NHL, but for now, I need to think about playing two great seasons at a very high level.

MTV: How can you explain your decision?

VG: It wasn’t an easy choice, but I think you can understand yourself that such a decision can’t be taken just like this. I have a family, relatives. Plus, my KHL career is going better and better. I feel that I’m growing as a player and I hope that this development will go on while playing for SKA. Just have a look at the team’s defensive roster: win such a competition and gain good ice time is a big challenge. And in two years, when I’ll have to make another decision, I’ll be a better player.

With his professional and international experience, once he comes over he will be NHL-ready. Can you imagine a top four of Jones, Werenski, Nutivaara, and Gavrikov?