Whether he was here to discuss Artemi Panarin‘s deal or not, agent Dan Milstein’s visit with Columbus Blue Jackets brass is welcome news.
Columbus Blue Jackets fans were a buzz with speculation and rumor when we found out that Artemi Panarin’s agent, Dan Milstein, was in Detroit to meet with the CBJ brass. Both Jarmo Kekelainien and Assistant General Manager Bill Zito met with the superstar’s agent but not to discuss Panarin.
According to reports from Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch, Milstein, who lives in Detroit, was not meeting with the front office to discuss Artemi Panarin’s contract. Rather, he was there to discuss the future of two other clients of his who are in the CBJ system.
Milstein, seen below with Zito (left) and Jarmo (right), also represents defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and forward Nikita Korostelev. Korostelev, 21, is currently on an AHL deal but playing with the Jacksonville IceMen.
Gavrikov is the interesting part of this meeting though. If we are to believe that the discussions just surrounded these two players and not Panarin, which why wouldn’t we believe that, it hopefully bore good news on the Gavrikov front.
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Gavrikov, 23, is a fascinating prospect that could make a huge impact on the blue line for the Jackets, or for any NHL team. Vladislav stands at 6’3″ and weights over 205 pounds. He is a fantastic defensive defenseman, makes a great first pass and is starting to develop into more of an offensive threat.
Gavrikov has played for one of the KHL’s elite teams for the last two years in SKA St. Petersberg and has four full years in the KHL under his belt. He also won Olympic gold last year for the Organized Athletes of Russia in South Korea.
His contract is up at the end of the year and the 2015 draftee’s rights are still held by the Jackets. The Jackets have offered a contract to Gavrikov before that he turned down to play in the KHL. So could Gavrikov move over to the Jackets defense corps? Could the conversation between the CBJ and Milstein been centered around the team’s plan with it’s blue line?
With Zach Werenski set to be re-signed, the only question marks that remain on the blue line are Ryan Murray and Scott Harrington. Both have expiring deals and would be restricted free agents at the end of the year. With Murray playing as well as he is the Jackets will be high on re-signing him.
So while it appears the Jackets blue line is in place for the next few years, Gavrikov is an attractive trade piece if the Jackets don’t have a home for him in the NHL. Or Murray could be on the block and Gavrikov slide into the roster and attempt to take his spot.
All of this doesn’t take into account youngster Gabriel Carlsson or Notre Dame prospect Andrew Peeke, all of which the Jackets are interested in. All of these questions make me believe that most of the conversation between Jarmo, Zito and Milstein were, in-fact, not about Panarin but his other clients. And that is good news too for the organization and it’s future blue line.