It goes without saying that, sometimes if you’re trading away a player you really love it’s better to send them far, far away – where they can’t come back to haunt you. There are two teams out west who have been trying to add a defenseman, and both teams should be in hard on Gavrikov if the Jackets are seriously looking to trade him away.
The Oilers are at a huge advantage here because they have an NHL player that they’re supposedly looking to move. A first round pick is the starting point for Gavrikov, and I do think it will take this year’s first to get it done – but the Oilers don’t have to send any other picks to Columbus if they return Jesse Puljujarvi in this trade.
This kind of deal could work for both sides: the Oilers get a legitimate second pairing defenseman that could put them over the top and make them Cup contenders (anything can happen with McDavid and Draisaitl on the ice). The Jackets get that sought after first round pick, along with a responsible two-way forward who is still trying to find his offensive game. Bonus: he’s close friends with Patrik Laine.
This one might be a little one-sided towards the Jackets, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more moving parts. But, I also wouldn’t be surprised if these were the main components of a deal with the Oilers, who are hungry to contend now. If the Jackets were to throw in a struggling player from our side – say, Emil Bemstrom – then I think the Oilers could add another piece to this deal to make it all work for both sides. Or, the Jackets could move on and deal with another Pacific Division team:
The LA Kings could be the perfect trade partners for the Jackets this year, if we’re talking about Gavrikov. Like Columbus, they have hemorrhaged goals; giving up the 9th most in the league. But their offense has been good enough to keep them in playoff contention, and as we know: if you get in, anything can happen.
The Kings have been rumored to be in on Jakob Chychrun, but should they miss out on him, they could go all in on Gavrikov. What makes them an intriguing trade partner is that, like New Jersey, they have an abundance of quality, NHL ready prospects, and could include any one of them in a deal like this. Or, they could simply throw one of their extra third round picks this year to get it done.
But if they wanted to include someone like Jaret Anderson-Dolan, the Jackets would be wise to jump on the trade ASAP. He’s a guy that could come in and play center right away, not unlike the time the team traded James Wisniewski away and acquired William Karlsson.