After admitting the two sides could not agree on terms, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalalinen made the decision to trade D- Vladislav Gavrikov. While it was absolutely the right decision, the move comes with consequences that will be felt for a short while, while Blue Jackets defensive prospects such as David Jiricek, Stanislav Svozil, Corson Ceulemans, and Denton Mateychuk continue development. For the remainder of this season, the injury-depleted Blue Jackets defensive unit losing Gavrikov will pinch.
It has gone on for a long time and has become a staple of rebuilding teams, trading players on expiring contracts in hopes of a solid return that can speed up the rebuilding process. For the Columbus Blue Jackets, who thought they had a deal with the Boston Bruins involving Vladislav Gavrikov only to see it fall apart, the organization moved to the Los Angeles Kings, who were in the market for a defensive upgrade.
By trading the left-handed Gavrikov, there is now a rather large void in the Blue Jackets’ blueline. While Columbus is near the bottom of the NHL standings, trading Gavrikov assures the team will stay near or even finish at the bottom of the standing, almost assuredly guaranteeing a very high draft pick.
The Blue Jackets now play the waiting game for prospects to continue to develop. It is close to a sure thing that David Jiricek will open next season on Columbus’s opening night roster. But Jiricek alone does not mean the organization will suddenly take a massive step forward. The other top defensive prospects (Svozil, Ceulemans, and Mateychuk) still need more time.
The Blue Jackets are more than one defensive player away from moving from rebuild to contention. They need players, both offensive and defensive. This is where patience needs to exercise. The Blue Jackets organization has some of the pieces that will form the team’s next core players. They simply need more time. It is part of the process that needs to be done properly in order to help the player reach their full potential.
For the remainder of this season, minus Vladislav Gavrikov, more losses than wins will pile up. That is not a bad thing for the rebuilding Columbus Blue Jackets.