LA Kings’ defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov still appears to be a ‘pure rental’

The 27-year old left-handed defenseman was shipped from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Los Angeles Kings on March 1, 2023, in a package that also included Blue Jacket’s goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Gavrikov and Korpisalo came to Los Angeles in exchange for Jonathan Quick, a 2023 conditional first-round pick, and a 2024 third-round pick.

On paper, both teams won this trade because the Kings were set to make a playoff push and wanted to bulk up their positions of need, while the Blue Jackets were far out of a playoff spot and sold two players for draft capital and a past-their-prime goaltender to make the money work.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen quickly flipped Jonathan Quick a day later to the Vegas Golden Knights who have been plagued by goaltender injuries. Not only did the Golden Knights address an area of need, but they also acquired a division rival’s former franchise goaltender whose fire burns hot.

So, they anticipated Jonathan Quick would give them his best, and he did for a short time, before falling back into his old inconsistent ways as a 37-year old netminder. And ever since this trade, the Kings have been red-hot.

Two pieces of the Kings’ recent success are newly acquired defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Since joining the Kings, Gavrikov has recorded one goal and four assists for five total points.

Although, he was not acquired for his offensive prowess. the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Russian defenseman was acquired for his defensive abilities and his large frame. Because of that he already has 16 blocks and 11 hits in just 11 games played in a Kings sweater.

Vladislav Gavrikov has executed his role well and has energized the locker room. On the day he was traded from Columbus, Blue Jackets team reporter Jeff Svoboda said that he was ‘one of the funniest people he’s ever met.’

A guy like that is always a want for locker room chemistry and could be part of the reason that long-time Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is trying to convince the pending unrestricted free agent to re-sign in Los Angeles. The efforts of the franchise cornerstone cannot go understated, but the reality of the situation is that Vladislav Gavrikov is likely to move on from the Kings after this season.

The day after Gavrikov and Korpisalo were traded, SportsNet’s Jeff Marek reported that Gavrikov may have turned down an extension offer from the Kings.

Barring any unforeseen wild changes, the projected cap space for the Los Angeles Kings after season’s end is $1.4 million dollars, per CapFriendly. With a limited amount of cap space, the Kings will not be able to meet the value that Vladislav Gavrikov can draw on the open market.

Unless, general manager Rob Blake tabs him as a key piece to this team and decides to unload other salaries to make his extension work. One example of a likely candidate to move is defenseman Sean Walker. And Alex Edler will be an unrestricted free agent, so his contract will be off the books as well.

As of now, it doesn’t bode well for Vladislav Gavrikov to remain a King after this season, but that does not mean that he is not wanted here either.