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Vladislav Gavrikov signs a three year contract extension

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Now what?

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

The Columbus Blue Jackets settled one major piece of off-season business on Thursday by signing defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to a new three year contract. The annual cap hit on the deal is $2.8 million:

Gavrikov became a fixture of the shutdown second pairing in his rookie season, along with partner David Savard. Rachel raved about his game in February, and also wrote his season review in September.

This signing makes Gavrikov just the third current Blue Jacket signed through the 2022-23 season, along with forwards Cam Atkinson and Gus Nyquist. Gavrikov was ineligible to receive an offer sheet this off-season, but will be an unrestricted free agent in summer of 2023. He’ll be turning 28 that fall.

With AHL/NHL tweeners Gabriel Carlsson, Calvin Thurkauf, and Kevin Stenlund signing last week, that makes Pierre-Luc Dubois the only restricted free agent left to sign. There is just over $72 million in salary accounted for currently, with just over $9 million in cap space remaining to sign Dubois, and potentially add another player. With Nyquist undergoing shoulder surgery that will keep him out until April at the earliest, there could be increased pressure to sign a free agent forward such as Mikael Granlund or Mike Hoffman (ugh), or a trade with a capped out team such as Tampa Bay.