Late Tuesday night, rumblings hit the internet that the Blue Jackets had swung a deal with the LA Kings, sending goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov west, in exchange for goaltender Jonathan Quick and a pair of draft picks. Immediate reaction: this one feels like the end of an era for the Jackets.
Vladislav Gavrikov was originally a 6th round pick (#159 overall) at the 2015 NHL Draft. He spent four seasons after his draft year developing in Russia, but came to North America in 2019 as a mostly polished, NHL ready player.
Right away, Vlad stepped into a second pairing role for the Blue Jackets, skating alongside David Savard and giving the team solid minutes defensively. He spent 5 seasons in Columbus, playing in 256 games and scoring 15 goals and 58 assists for the Jackets. What we’ll remember most about Vlad however, is his easy going personality on and off the ice. He’s a personal favorite, truly one of the game’s best good guys, and he has the best celly in the league (this is not up for debate).
Leaving with Gavrikov is goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, which will pull at the heart strings of basically every CBJ fan out there. Korpi was originally selected by the Jackets in the 3rd round (#62 overall) at the 2012 NHL Draft, and has spent his entire career with the Jackets to this point. After being relegated to backup duties behind Sergei Bobrovsky and, eventually, Elvis Merzlikins, Joonas never once complained and took team-friendly contracts along the way.
He dutifully patrolled the crease whenever called upon, ultimately playing in 210 games for the Jackets, with a career 90.3% save percentage and 3.03 goals against average, and an 87-78-24 record. His numbers may not jump off the page, but what he brought to this team over the years is invaluable, and he will be sorely missed.
In return, the Jackets get struggling veteran netminder Jonathan Quick – who they’re rumored to be trying to flip before the deadline. Once arguably the top goaltender in the game, Quick is in the final year of a 10-year contract, and is surely hoping for one more chance at a Stanley Cup before he retires. The Jackets also receive a conditional 2023 first round pick, and a 2024 third round pick in the trade.
The condition on the first round pick: if the Kings miss the playoffs, it becomes a 2023 second and 2024 round pick. This gives the Jackets a total of 10 picks in this summer’s NHL draft, including two first rounders. They have 8 picks in next year’s draft with the addition of the third round pick in this trade as it stands.
It certainly seems like there is more to come for the Blue Jackets as they continue to reset the roster in hopes of competing again next season. It’s very possible that they could flip these assets and make a deal with the Arizona Coyotes for star defenseman Jakob Chychrun. We’ll do our best to follow along and break news of any deals as they happen.