2024 Kings Seasons In Review – Vladislav Gavrikov

Continuing the look back at 2023-24 with the season of defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.

Gavrikov completed his first season with the Kings after his acquisition at the 2023 trade deadline. Gavrikov was a great fit down the stretch last season and into the playoffs. After a bit of time to sort things out, the Kings cleared salary-cap space to re-sign Gavrikov to a two-year contract extension last June, keeping him in Los Angeles to continue the relationship. The first full season had an incredible start, though Gavrikov’s metrics slowed a bit in the second half of the season. Still, more than serviceable, excelling in his strongest areas once again.

Vladislav Gavrikov
LAK Statline –77 games played, 6 goals, 17 assists, +9 rating, 28 penalty minutes
LAK Playoff Statline – 5 games played, 0 goals, 2 assists, even rating, 2 penalty minutes
NHL Possession Metrics (Relative To Kings) – CF% – 53.7% (+0.2%), SCF% – 52.8% (-0.5%), HDCF% – 54.6% (+2.9%)

Trending Up – Stuff happened for the Kings offensively when Gavrikov was on the ice. Not only did he score a career-high six goals, on top of 17 assists which was the second-highest total of his NHL career, but the Kings generally created ample offensive opportunities with Gavrikov on the ice. The Kings averaged more than 34 shots on goal per/60 minutes with Gavrikov on the ice as he led all Kings defensemen in that category. He ranked second among regular blueliners in both on-ice scoring chances and high-danger chances. He also set career highs in individual shots on goal and individual scoring chances. Long story short, the Kings created offensively when 84 was in action.

Plus, that OT GWG against Tampa Bay was slick.

Gavrikov was also, once again, a monster in the neutral zone. No Kings player had more defensive breakups in the neutral zone than Gavrikov, who also led all Kings regulars on the backend in denying zone entries into the attacking end, as Gavrikov led the Kings in denials in the neutral zone specifically as well. When he joined the Kings last season from Columbus, he came with a nickname – The Octopus – given for the range of his defensive stick in seemingly all directions. Gavrikov led the Kings in stick checks this season, showcasing the range he has defensively when specifically defending with the stick. As to be expected, Gavrikov also led the team in stick checks in the neutral zone specifically, as well as passes broken up in the neutral zone.

Trending Down – With generating more offensively came a drop off at the other end of the ice. Not a massive one, but it wasn’t at the heights that Gavrikov hit in his 20 games with the team a season ago. His on-ice goals against rose fro 2.1 to 2.4 on a per/60 basis, while he also saw mild upticks in scoring chances and high-danger chances against. In the second half of the season, after Gavrikov returned to the lineup from a lower-body injury suffered in New York in early-December, the chances against started to rise a bit. As did the goals against, ever so slightly. I think that jives a bit with the eye test. Never any indication from player or team that there were lingering effects and nothing that we’ll probably know, but the shutdown effectiveness did drop off a bit in the second half in total. All in all, though, while still a set of numbers on the right side of the ledger, there was a letdown defensively from what we saw late last season.

Stealing a chunk of this section from the Matt Roy article last week but Gavrikov is one of many who played a part in the penalty-killing efforts in the postseason. The Oilers scored nine power-play goals and eight of them came with Gavrikov on the ice. As added in Roy’s article, it isn’t on just one guy or one pairing, it was a team-wide struggle. But, the fact of the matter was, the Kings allowed nearly two power-play goals per game in the postseason against an admittedly dynamic power-play unit. It’s an area that was a strength of the team all season long and the Gavrikov/Roy pairing was the most relied upon duo. It was one of several areas that did not execute as it needed to come the playoffs.

2024-25 Outlook– Gavrikov is signed for one more season with a cap hit of $5.875 million. He re-signed with the Kings last summer on a two-year contract extension after he was acquired from Columbus at the trade deadline.

While Gavrikov is signed for next season, his regular defensive partner is not. With Roy a pending unrestricted free agent, there are currently unknowns as it pertains to his status going forward. Should Roy return, there’s naturally a good chance that the pair is reunited. Should Roy not return, the Kings have two younger defensemen in Jordan Spence and Brandt Clarke who could make sense as a partner for Gavrikov going forward. The role might be a little bit different if partnered with a younger player, as might the responsibility, which comes along with the territory of being a veteran. Regardless of what neutral-zone system the Kings play, look for Gavrikov’s ability in that area to play a large role in executing it.

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