NHL Rumors: Rangers Linked to Blue Jackets' Gavrikov

The New York Rangers are in pursuit of a defenceman to fill a hole on their left side. That spot in the lineup, even more than a top-six forward, is what the team has to address before the trade deadline.

On the Rangers' radar is Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov, per Arthur Staple. He is an effective top-four defenceman that is being paid like a fifth or bottom-pair defenceman. With a cap hit of just $2.8 million, the Rangers could bring that down even more with some retention by the Blue Jackets in a deal. This would allow the Rangers to still add what they need at forward for their playoff run.

Gavrikov is a UFA at the end of the season, so he would be seen as just a rental for the Rangers. With Ryan Lindgren and K'Andre Miller on the left side already, there isn't room to keep him around anyways.

New York has been struggling with finding a capable defenceman to play on the left side beside Braden Schneider. Ben Harpur has assumed the role for now and was just extended for another two years, but he isn't the answer in a full-time role. Zac Jones and Libor Hajek had opportunities earlier in the season to take the role, but neither took advantage.

Gavrikov will cost them a first round pick, but because they sent Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars for their first round pick, the Rangers have two to work with this season.

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