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2019 CBJ Top 25 Under 25: #6 Vladislav Gavrikov must break you

A new #44 joins the defensive mix

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Boston Bruins v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Six Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images

Thanks to the over 80 of you who voted in our poll! We combined your votes and the writers’ votes and our Top 25 Under 25 countdown continues today:

#6: Vladislav Gavrikov

Voting

6th out of 34 eligible players

Writers’ Vote: 6th

Readers’ Vote: 6th

Highest Placement: 3rd (2 votes)

Most Common Placement: 7th (15 votes)

Biography

Birthdate: November 21, 1995

Birthplace: Yaroslavl, Russia

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 190 lbs

Position: Defenseman

Acquired: Drafted #159th overall in Rd 6, 2015. Signed 2-year ELC in April, 2019.

2018-19 Season

Vladislav Gavrikov had a rather exciting, and jet-setting, last 12 months of hockey. He was part of the gold-medal winning Russian team in the Olympics. He then captained the SKA St. Petersburg squad and posted a 5-15-20 line. I don’t put much stock into plus/minus, but to sate the masses…he also posted a +48 in 60 games.

In what’s becoming a bit of a tradition for Jarmo Kekäläinen, the young defender was signed, sealed, and delivered to John Tortorella in time to help the Jackets in the playoffs. Gavrikov played in Games 5 and 6 and finished -2 with roughly 15 minutes of TOI each game (12 total seconds of PP time!!).

After the NHL playoffs ended, Gavrikov joined the Russian team in the IIHF World Championships. He helped his nation earn the bronze medal in the competition.

2019-20 Forecast

Gavrikov’s cameo during the playoffs gave fans a bit of hope that he’d be able to cement a spot on the 3rd pairing, at least. Then JK gave Scott Harrington a new deal. So. Perhaps there’s a trade deal on the horizon? If not, the team’s newest Russian will fight for that 7th spot with, probably, Dean Kukan.

Overall, there’s been a fair bit of excitement for Gavrikov. We might be overvaluing our own. The Athletic’s Corey Pronman reviewed the Jackets’ farm system and had this to say about Vlad the Defender (PAYWALL):

Gavrikov was a quality defenseman in the KHL for SKA, and has been so for both them and Russia’s national team the past few years. He signed at the end of the season with Columbus. There are things I appreciate about his game. He’s a very good defender because he’s 6-foot-3, mobile and smart. He kills a lot of offensive plays with his gaps, his stick and physical play. With the puck, he’s just OK. He can skate pucks fine and sees the ice well, but there is nothing about his game that really jumps out at you. I could see a serviceable bottom pair defenseman or someone who struggles to move the puck in the NHL.

Of course, a strong (ok, fine. Serviceable) 3rd pairing defenseman is something the team needs. I’m looking forward to seeing how well Gavrikov adapts during a full season of NA play.