Blue Jackets trade involving Vladislav Gavrikov fails – now what?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Blue Jackets have had many tough nights at the rink this season. Thursday’s dose was a double whammy, and the worst news came just as the Blue Jackets headed into a warmup before a game at Nationwide Arena.

Around 6:30 p.m., Boston and Washington announced a trade that sent defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway to the Bruins for forwards Craig Smith and Andrei Svetlakov, along with a trio of picks: a first-round pick in 2023, a second-round pick in 2025 and a third-round pick in 2024.

The Wild, Columbus’ opponent on Thursday, stepped in as a third-party “broker” to help Boston stay under the NHL’s salary cap.

The news landed like a punch in Columbus before the puck fell against Minnesota, particularly that the Bruins had acquired Orlov, a veteran two-way defenseman. The Blue Jackets thought they were going to be dancing partners with Boston.

Multiple team and league sources have confirmed Athleticism that the Blue Jackets felt strongly that they had made a deal with Boston more than a week ago that would have sent defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to the Bruins for multiple picks and/or players.

The Blue Jackets believed the deal was done, sources said, but Boston repeatedly asked for more time. A deal is not official until it is approved by the NHL.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen declined to comment Thursday, but that puts him back to square one with his biggest trade token with just a week to go until the March 3 NHL trade deadline.

And that puts the Jackets in a potentially awkward position with Gavrikov, who has been healthy for more than a week. Thursday’s game against the Wild was the fifth straight game Gavrikov has missed to avoid injury before the deadline.

It’s unclear whether Gavrikov will return to the lineup on Saturday when the Blue Jackets host the Edmonton Oilers. Thursday’s news came too late for Columbus to rush him into the lineup against the Wild, though it’s unclear if the Jackets will choose to play him again.

When asked if there was a scenario where Gavrikov could return to the lineup before March 3, Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said, “I’m not even on that wavelength. Right now. I’m just worried about tonight’s game.

It didn’t go so well either.

The Wild scored twice in the opening 8:48 of the game and took those goals to a 2-0 win before 17,997 at Nationwide Arena. Minnesota goaltender Marc-André Fleury collected his 73rd career shutout, his first in 24 starts against Columbus.

But the Bruins-Capitals trade threw a “now what?” atmosphere on the procedure.

What are Kekalainen’s options? Edmonton, Los Angeles and Toronto are all reportedly looking for help on defense, but Gavrikov’s return may be downplayed now that there are fewer teams involved in the bid.

Blue Jackets wanted Gavrikov trade done well before trade deadline, two sources say Athleticismso they could potentially flip Boston’s first-round pick in a trade to Arizona for defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

Chychrun has been on the market for over a year now, and he is seen as a likely candidate to move before March 3. The Coyotes’ asking price would include a first-round pick, so the Blue Jackets need to add that if they’re going to get into the running.

There’s no way they’re trading their own first-round pick this year, which could very well be No. 1 overall. Thursday’s loss, coupled with Anaheim’s win over the Capitals, dropped the Blue Jackets to last place in the overall league standings.

The Blue Jackets have had a recurring flirtation with the Coyotes involving Chychrun since last summer’s draft in Montreal.

It was reported then that Arizona general manager Bill Armstrong and Kekalainen had reached a deal for Chychrun, but that Chychrun wanted to be traded to a playoff contender, not a club re-teaming with young players. The deal was eventually canceled.

When the Blue Jackets signed forward Johnny Gaudreau last summer, however, Chychrun agreed to the Coyotes resuming trade talks with Columbus. But they didn’t seem to be going anywhere.

The draw for Chychrun, who turns 25 next month, is clear: he’s signed through 2024-25 at $4.6m a season, a reasonable sum given his offensive talent and style. A 10-team no-trade clause will go into effect in his contract next season, according to CapFriendly.

Chychrun and Gavrikov also have this in common: they’ve both been out of the roster for over a week now awaiting a trade, which may not happen after Thursday’s deal between the Caps and bruins.

Gavrikov, an unrestricted free agent this summer, spoke to the media last week when he was dropped from the roster for the first time for “trade-related reasons.” But he declined an interview request this week.

“I think it was very difficult for him,” Blue Jackets defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. “It’s kind of a novelty to take guys out for weeks. I feel for him. It’s a very difficult position for him. It’s a big year for him, a contract year. It must be difficult. I don’t envy his position at all.

“We spoke many times. He’s still there (laughing), so we talked a lot. I lived what he goes through. I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, what’s wrong with him. But hockey players want to play.

(Photo by Vladislav Gavrikov: Gaelen Morse/USA Today)

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