Failed Bruins Trade Opens Up Window for Oilers To Land Gavrikov

The Edmonton Oilers might have a unique opportunity to see defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov walk across the hall to the Oilers’ locker room on Saturday versus potentially returning to the lineup for the Columbus Blue Jackets after a trade failed to materialize between the Boston Bruins and Columbus on Thursday. A deal many, including the Blue Jackets, thought was done, Gavrikov wasn’t traded to Boston, who instead grabbed Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway in a trade with the Washington Capitals.

The Oilers have been rumored to be interested in the Blue Jackets defender, but with his being pulled from the lineup for trade-related reasons and the Bruins becoming frontrunners, it was likely GM Ken Holland shifted his focus. Perhaps the Blue Jackets give Holland a call in a renewed attempt to move the player.

Will Gavrikov Be Less Expensive Now?

Elliotte Friedman is reporting that the Blue Jackets are actually fairly upset about this, thinking they had a verbal deal agreed to. As Aaron Portzline of The Athletic writes, “…the Bruins-Capitals trade cast a “what now?” vibe over the proceedings.” He adds:

What are [Jarmo] Kekalainen’s options? Edmonton, Los Angeles, and Toronto are all said to be seeking help on defense, but it’s possible that the Gavrikov return will be minimized now that there are fewer teams involved in the bidding.

source ‘Blue Jackets trade involving Vladislav Gavrikov falls through — so now what?’ – Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 02/23/2023
Vladislav Gavrikov Columbus Blue Jackets
Vladislav Gavrikov, Columbus Blue Jackets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Portzline writes that the Blue Jackets had a plan. That plan was to acquire a first-round pick for Gavrikov, then flip that pick in a trade with Arizona to acquire Jakob Chychrun. Because there’s no way the Blue Jackets will trade their own first-round pick — it could be a lottery pick, if not first-overall — they’ll need to acquire that first from another team. They might be feeling the pinch to get this done, depending on how much they like Chycrhun.

Can The Oilers Take Advantage Of The Situation?

The Blue Jackets were rumored to be asking for more in a Gavrikov trade than the Oilers wanted to pay. But, what if the price comes down? Or, what if the Oilers can entice the Blue Jackets to make giving them a first-rounder worthwhile?

For example, the Oilers could move a first for Gavrikov, but ask that they get a draft pick with the player in return. For the Blue Jackets, it might not be about how many picks they have, just that they have the first-rounder they need to acquire Chychrun. If this is agreeable, the sting of moving a first-rounder goes down.

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Or, what if the Oilers say, ‘We’ll do this, but you need to retain and take some salary back in the deal.’ The Blue Jackets have over $7 million in deadline cap space to be flexible with. They won’t want to do this, but if they’re feeling crunched, they might be willing.

Maybe the Oilers find out Gustav Nyquist is out for the rest of the regular season but appears able to return for the playoffs. He’s not a bad option to have thrown in the deal knowing his salary won’t count if he can hang out on LTIR to finish out the season.

The Oilers Have Less Competition

The Oilers and Blue Jackets don’t have much time to figure this out. The good news for Edmonton is that most of the other teams that would have been in on this deal have likely dropped out. The Toronto Maple Leafs were rumored to have interest, but having moved their first in the trade with St. Louis, they would need to make another deal first to get the first-rounder the Blue Jackets want. That would mean moving a player like Alex Kerfoot and they are hesitant to do so.

The Boston Bruins are out now too. They have no draft capital the Blue Jackets would need to make the Chychrun trade.

That leaves the Los Angeles Kings as one of the few teams left that the Oilers are competing with. They have a first in this upcoming draft and they might be prepared to use it.

Food for Thought…

What if the Blue Jackets can’t make this deal now and it takes them out of the running for Chychrun? Any chance the Oilers try to get in this conversation again should the Coyotes be wondering what the play is now that a potential trade with the Blue Jackets has fallen through? It seems unlikely the Oilers give up two firsts for Chychrun, but as the days drop to the deadline, the price might too.