NHL Notebook: LA Kings sign Vladislav Gavrikov to two-year extension, the latest on RFAs including Jesse Puljujarvi, and more

Photo credit:James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
10 months ago
The LA Kings have signed defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov to a two-year extension carrying an average value of $5.875-million.
The big ticket comes a day after the club cleared cap space by moving out goaltender Cal Petersen in a cap dump.
Here’s some of what Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin wrote about the signing:
The Kings acquired Gavrikov, 27, as part of a March 1 blockbuster trade that also brought goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to L.A. and sent franchise legend goalie Jonathan Quick to the Blue Jackets along with the Kings’ 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick. Gavrikov was an instant hit, mixing sturdy defensive acumen and generally mistake-free hockey with decent mobility for a 6-foot-3, 221 pounder. He is a highly effective penalty killer, but the ice also tilted very favorably for the Kings with him on the ice at 5-on-5; they outscored opponents 14-6 while generating 54.14 percent of the shot attempts and 56.93 percent of the scoring chances across his 20 regular season games. His impact was similarly positive in the postseason; his two most common opponents faced were Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and the Kings generated more scoring chances than the Oilers when Gavrikov was out against either of them.
Gavrikov isn’t known for his offense, of course, but he had nine points in his 20 regular season games with L.A., putting him on the best 82-game scoring pace of his career. Playing primarily with Matt Roy thus far for the Kings, Gavrikov will be an integral part of their top four and P.K. unit for the next two seasons at minimum.


The latest on RFA’s

Frank Seravalli dropped an article Wednesday afternoon diving into some curious cases in the restricted free agent market. Among them, former Edmonton Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi.
He looked at the players who may be too rich to keep, and those with interesting arbitration cases. Here are the top two players from each category:

Too Rich to Keep?

These players are due qualifying offers whose play has not been commensurate with the number owed to them on a one-year deal: (all data courtesy of CapFriendly.com)
1. Mackenzie Blackwood
Goaltender, New Jersey Devils
Qualifying Offer Due: $3.36 million
Scoop: Blackwood is far and away the most likely player to not be issued a qualifying offer this spring. Seen as recently as two years ago as one of the promising, up-and-coming young goaltenders, Blackwood’s stock has dropped steadily by combination of injury and inconsistent play. Over the last three years, he’s appeared in 82 games with an .897 save percentage. It’s possible the Devils could try to find a suitor ready to rehab Blackwood for a late-round pick, but every team knows he’s set to become a UFA otherwise.
2. Jesse Puljujarvi
Right Wing, Carolina Hurricanes
Qualifying Offer Due: $3 million
Scoop: It was a worthy gamble for the Hurricanes, acquiring Puljujarvi for next to nothing, to see if he could find magic with some fellow Finns. It didn’t work out. He didn’t score a single goal in 24 total games and was a healthy scratch for eight of Carolina’s 15 playoff contests.

Arbitration Case Looming

Sometimes, teams will not offer qualifying offers to players who have a larger arbitration award looming. Trades sometimes develop from these situations. A player who is issued a qualifying offer but declines to sign it may elect for salary to be awarded by arbitration:
1. Trent Frederic
Left Wing, Boston Bruins
Qualifying Offer Due: $1.15 million
Potential Arbitration Range: $2.25 to $3 million
Scoop: Frederic is a really intriguing piece and one of those ‘energy’ guys you think about when you consider the Bruins’ success. They could really use to keep him, but they’re in salary cap jail. They’re carrying a $4.5 million bonus overage and would like to keep other free agents. Would Frederic take a longer term deal at a smaller cap hit to stay? We’ll see, but he’s a potential trade chip as a salary cap casualty.
2. Will Borgen
Right Defense, Seattle Kraken
Qualifying Offer Due: $945,000
Potential Arbitration Range: $2.5 to $3 million
Scoop: Borgen is a pretty unheralded, underrated piece in the Kraken organization. He played 16:22 per night last season and collected 20 points, all at even-strength for Seattle. He’s likely to triple his salary this summer if were to ever get to an arbitration case. Andrew Peeke ($2.75 million) and Oliver Kylington ($2.5 million) are pretty decent recent contract comps. The Kraken aren’t tight to the cap but need to pay Vince Dunn and make a decision on Carson Soucy.

What’s next for Tampa Bay?

The Lightning find themselves in a precarious spot with this year being the first they’re not the top team coming out of the east since 2019. They have an aging roster and limited cap space and could once again be facing an exodus of players in free agency.
On Daily Faceoff Live, Frank Seravalli and Colby Cohen talked about what’s ahead.
Seravalli: The Tampa Bay Lightning and GM Julien BriseBois have some difficult decisions to make this summer. Alex Killorn is a pending UFA a year after Ondrej Palat ended up walking. Corey Perry will not be back in Tampa Bay but I’m told he will continue his career elsewhere. Ian Cole is a significant piece on their backend; he is also a UFA. They’ve got tough decisions to make. They have little cap space and many players out of contract.
They will have to shop from the bargain bin of free agency and the trade market for sure this summer, and they probably will not be able to keep Ross Colton. He has ascended through their organization as a late-round pick and is due a significant raise.
What are the Tampa Bay Lightning doing? What’s their first order of business?
Cohen: The first order of business has to be Jeannot. We all know what Julien BriseBois gave up to get Jeannot, so I think it’s important that they follow through on that and make some sort of deal work.
On the other hand, Ross Colton is going to be the next Carter Verhaeghe for the Tampa Bay Lightning. If he does walk, he’s going to go somewhere and score a lot of goals. He’s good on the power play, he’s good along the wall, and he’s come through probably the best organization he could have over the past ten years.
Seravalli: Would you pay to keep Colton?
Cohen: I would pay to keep Colton. The reason being: look at the success Carter Verhaeghe is having. Although he hasn’t scored in the Stanley Cup Final, he’s scored some big goals throughout this postseason. He’s a sniper and they let him go for nothing, and he’s blossomed into a star for Florida.
I really like Ross Colton’s game, he’s a talented player. If he does go somewhere, he’s going to get paid. I think he’s a top-six forward on a lot of teams in the NHL.
Seravalli: Because of the cap situation in Tampa and the need to pay Ross Colton he was on our latest trade targets board.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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