The Edmonton Oilers rumour mill began churning again when it became known that Ken Holland has interest in acquiring left-shot defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov. He is currently the Columbus Blue Jackets’ top left d-man who also kills penalties and has a cap friendly salary of $2.8M. The cost to acquire is apparently at least a first round pick in next years draft with a possible third included with Columbus retaining 50%. Gavrikov will be a UFA at the end of the season and it is unclear if he would re-sign in Edmonton.
What Gavrikov can offer the team
Drafted 159th overall in the sixth round of 2015 draft, Gavrikov would play five years in the KHL before making his NHL debut during the 2019 playoffs. During the 2015 World Juniors, he won silver with Russia and was awarded best defenceman despite not scoring a goal in seven games.
Gavrikov is a defensive stalwart with a 6’3”, 213 pound frame to match. He is not afraid to use his body to defend either as he has 35 hits and 68 blocked shots in all situations during 35 games this season. This season he is posting the worst advanced stats of his career; however logging 22 minutes a night on the second worst NHL team can do that.
|2022–23 Season 5v5||Goals||Assists||Points||CF%||HDCF%||Giveaways||Takeaways|
While not known for his offence, Gavrikov can make the first pass out of the defensive zone and did produce 33 points last season in 80 games. A classic stay home defender with size who can use his frame to defend and slow down top line forwards.
If the trade did occur, the best guess would be that Gavrikov is slotted into the second pair moving Brett Kulak to a better suited third pair role with Evan Bouchard.
What the Oilers might have to give up
Acquiring Gavrikov would make the Oilers defence better, however would it be enough to get them into the Stanly Cup Final? The other concern would be the cost of a rental for a first round pick – especially when you consider the play of Reid Schaefer and the possibility of him pushing for a bottom six spot in a year or two.
An interesting fact with Oilers’ first round draft picks is that every pick from 2013 to 2020 is on the NHL roster. If you include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from 2011, that’s nine spots filled by the draft. We also have to keep in mind that the 2023 draft class is deep with first round talent that could slide into the second round. Having that late round first pick could be a valuable trading chip or produce yet another roster player in the future.
Comparing Gavrikov to Chychrun
Ryan Rishaug and Jason Strudwick had an excellent conversation about acquiring Gavrikov or Jakob Chychrun.
Rishaug mentions that the cost to acquire Gravrikov could go down as the trade deadline nears. The deal would be more palatable if Holland could acquire Gavrikov for a second and third pick. However there is the chance of missing the boat if another GM pays the first round asking price. Which leads to another huge trade discussion regarding Chychrun. Lets take a look at the advanced stats first.
Chychrun is a better defenceman than Gavrikov and would be under team control for another two years until after the 2024–25 season. The main concern with Chychrun is if he can stay healthy. He has never played more than 68 games which was his rookie season in 2016–17. He only played 113 games in the two seasons prior to this year.
The second biggest concern is the ask which has changed over the months but would include a first round pick, another high pick either first or second, a roster player, and a prospect. Rishaug ponders a 2023 first, 2024 second, Dylan Holloway and Philip Broberg trade. My first impression is wow! That would be a hell of a return for the Arizona Coyotes. There has also been chatter that Jesse Puljujarvi could be the other roster player and Xavier Bourgault could be the other prospect.
Lets forget the cost to acquire for a minute and see where Chychrun would slot in. Kulak would most likely be bumped down to a third pair role with Bouchard.
Nurse – Ceci
Chychrun – Barrie
Kulak – Bouchard
Is a defenceman all the team needs?
Jason Strudwick is unsure if that defence is good enough to win the Cup. If Ken Holland completes that trade and sends all those assets over, then the player returning has to take the Oilers over the hump and win it all.
Strudwick also brings up an interesting point in that he would play Chychrun with Connor McDavid – which in a roundabout way would put Nurse on the second pair. Plenty of Oilers fans would like to see Darnell Nurse demoted or traded but could Jay Woodcroft find a way to make that work? It would reduce Nurse’s minutes and you can still pair him with Draisaitl’s line. Definitely better options to have than currently constructed.
The leverage the Coyotes have with Chychrun is the two years of control after this season. Is that worth a first, a second, Holloway and Broberg? The Coyotes also have time on their side despite a trade request from their player. They could easily walk away from any deal less than their ask and try again in the summer.
It’s no fun to be in Holland’s shoes
No matter what he does he will receive criticism from some fans, and even in what seems to be a fairly straight forward trade of Gavrikov for picks could have a terrible outcome, especially if a first is included.
If the first pick is included, I would rather acquire Chychrun. If Chychrun is acquired, I would rather give up Puljujarvi and Bourgault. If Arizona will only accept two first round picks, I would rather attempt to acquire Gavrikov for a second and a third. That is a lot of if’s and with Evander Kane’s return and the trade deadline approaching, I cannot wait to see what Holland does or does not do.