NHL Rumors: Blue Jackets Expecting Big Return For Top Defenceman

The Columbus Blue Jackets could get a very nice return for their defender, Vladislav Gavrikov, this season. The team would like to re-sign him, but if they do trade him, they will be asking for more than what they got in return for David Savard, according to Pierre LeBrun.

The return the Blue Jackets got for Savard from the Tampa Bay Lightning was a first round and a third round pick. The Blue Jackets believe that Gavrikov is playing at a higher level than Savard was when they dealt him. This is a sizeable prize to pay for a defenceman who is an upcoming UFA. The team acquiring him has to be certain they are at least going to make the playoffs and go deep.

Gavrikov is set for a big pay increase as well seeing as he has a cap hit of just $2.8 million. This small cap hit is also what will entice teams to target him and why the price is so high to acquire him. He has served as the top defenceman on the Blue Jackets for most of the season because Zach Werenski went down with a season-ending injury just 13 games into the season.

A first round pick and more could greatly benefit the Blue Jackets to either make a selection or trade the picks for more immediate help. They aren't ready to compete for the playoffs next season, but don't want to waste too many years of Johnny Gaudreau and Patrick Laine while they are under contract.

If Gavrikov is still on the Blue Jackets after the trade deadline, expect him to stay there long-term.

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