Let the chaos begin.
With the NHL’s Trade Deadline starting to creep closer, teams are taking their time formulating their plans for what moves they hope to make by the Mar 3 deadline. It seems the Edmonton Oilers have identified a target and are now following that player and their team around.
Oilers Following Blue Jackets Around
Saturday night in Detroit, the Oilers had a scout in attendance to watch the Blue Jackets/Red Wings game. That’s not surprising to see considering both teams could be sellers by the trade deadline.
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However when scouts start following the same team around, you raise an eyebrow. That same scout who was in Detroit is in Columbus on Monday night to watch the Rangers/Blue Jackets game. While there hasn’t been much in the way of connecting the Oilers and Rangers on anything, the Oilers and Blue Jackets have been connected for sometime now. Perhaps this is proof of that connection.
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It’s no secret. The Oilers want to address their blue line. Ideally, they’d like someone who is a shutdown defender who can play tough minutes and is willing to do some of the dirty work such as lay a big hit or block a huge shot.
The Blue Jackets have perhaps one of the biggest trade deadline rentals available in defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The Oilers have been connected to Gavrikov in the past. This appears to be a situation of a team in the Oilers doing their homework and due diligence.
Would the Oilers Meet the Asking Price?
This is going to come down to the price. The Blue Jackets would want a 2023 first-round pick minimum in any trade package for Gavrikov. That got that for David Savard when he went to the Lightning. They can easily demand that with Gavrikov.
At an affordable cap hit of $2.8 million prorated, the Oilers would be interested in acquiring that kind of player since the cap hit is in the affordable range. However since the Oilers are in LTIR, they’d have to find other moves to make the money work.
The Oilers would also have to deal with competition as well. Other teams with first-round picks available would love to swoop in and grab Gavrikov too. Teams like the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs could inquire here as they each want to boost their blueline.
File This Away For Now
The main takeaway is that the Oilers are doing their homework to see if Gavrikov would be a fit on their team. Considering the same scout is watching the Blue Jackets, it seems they want to get a good sense of what he’s about over multiple performances.
Gavrikov’s situation as we recently outlined here likely will go to the Mar 3 deadline since the Blue Jackets would like to keep him if possible. However they haven’t been able to come to an agreement on a contract yet.
Related: 5 Blue Jackets Second Half Storylines to Watch
Stay tuned Oilers fans. They’re actively looking to improve their team in any way they can. Perhaps they think Gavrikov will be an answer to help them make a deep playoff run.
But will they meet the asking price? That’s the big question that will need to be answered eventually.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2022-23 season will mark nine seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager. Please take note of the updated Twitter handle: @mark_scheig.