To say the very least, it was a turbulent year for the normally steady Blue Jackets defense.
Zach Werenski’s season ended in early April with a inguinal/sports hernia, David Savard was traded away to Tampa Bay in the same week as Werenski’s injury, and Seth Jones informed the team he doesn’t plan to resign with Columbus in late May. So basically, the Columbus defense as we know it is toppling like a string of dominoes.
Fortunately, there was one beacon of stability and regularity in the Blue Jackets defensive line - Vladislav Gavrikov.
This was Gavy’s second full regular season with the Blue Jackets, in which he appeared in 55 games with an average of 19:24 on ice per game, an increase from 18:59 the previous season. Before playing full-time with the Blue Jackets, Gavrikov was part of the Russian team that won gold in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Not bad for someone who’s two weeks to the day younger than me! Our resumes don’t look at all similar except for that we’re fair and freckly-complected November Scorpios.
I seriously have nothing but amazing things to say about this guy. He was my favorite player to photograph - he’s always goofing around and seems genuinely happy to be with his teammates at all times. I wrote his player review last year too, so take a look at it here if you need a refresher for all his time with the Jackets.
Let’s take a look at his most recent season, shall we?
Games played: 55
5v5 CF%: 40.8%
5v5 FF%: 42.1%
In November 2020, the Blue Jackets signed Gavrikov to a three year contract with a cap hit of 2.8 million. This means he’s signed through the 2022-23 season, which means we’ll have him around to develop awhile longer. Great news!
Vlad became a Dad!!
#CBJ D Vladislav Gavrikov will not play in tonight’s game vs. Florida. He and his wife, Anastasia, are celebrating the birth of their daughter, Miroslava, earlier today. She is the couple’s first child. Congratulations!— CBJ Public Relations (@BlueJacketsPR) March 11, 2021
Naturally, he added a baby-rocking motion to his celebratory answering of the phone call and stirring of the soup pantomimes.
Aside from becoming a father, Gavrikov had a steady season with 10 assists and two goals. He was steadfast in a quickly-changing defensive landscape, and I was bummed for him when he lost the Sav to his Gav as a defensive pairing. I hope he will use these circumstances to mature further into his game and become the leading man on defense instead of three or four guys back.
I can’t remember a completely miserable specific low point for him, but that might just be because I favor him so fully and don’t remember the bad things. If you can think of a bad moment, please share in the comments! Otherwise I’ll say probably the most season-rocking point for Gavrikov this year was the loss of Savard as his D-line pairing.
Overall, I’ll give him a B for this season - with room for improvement!
How would you grade Dadislav Gavrikov’s 2021 season?
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