The Boston Bruins are one of several Stanley Cup contenders reportedly interested in some of the best defensemen rumored to be available ahead of the March 3 NHL trade deadline.
One of those players is Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.
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David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period reported Friday that the Bruins are among the teams that have talked to the Blue Jackets about a potential trade for Gavrikov.
"The Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins are four teams (there are more) that have spoken with the Blue Jackets about Gavrikov, who comes with a very attractive $2.8 million salary cap hit," Pagnotta wrote.
"I don’t get the sense, right now, that a move is imminent. This one, given the overall marketplace, could go down to the 11th hour, but all signs point to Gavrikov being dealt and not re-signing with Columbus."
Gavrikov is a good player, but not a huge game-changer. The 27-year-old veteran is a defensive defenseman, which the Bruins certainly could use more of on their blue line. Gavrikov also plays 3:31 of shorthanded ice time per game, which is the fifth-most among all defensemen. In addition to killing penalties, he blocks shots at a good rate and plays well over 20 minutes per game, and those defensemen are quite valuable, especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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From an offensive standpoint, Gavrikov has taken a step back in 2022-23. He scored 1.11 points per 60 minutes last season, but that number has dropped to 0.52 this season.
Gavrikov will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so he could potentially be a rental for the Bruins or any other team that acquires him.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported earlier this month that it's "believed" the Bruins are in the market for a left defenseman. Gavrikov plays on the left side. Jakob Chychrun of the Arizona Coyotes and Jake McCabe of the Chicago Blackhawks are two other notable left defenseman in trade rumors.
The Bruins have lost four of their last five games but still lead the league standings by seven points over the Carolina Hurricanes. Acquiring a top-four defenseman and a bottom-six forward would be a good trade deadline for the B's, but without a ton of high-quality assets to dangle, pulling that off could be tough for Boston.