COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to a three-year, $8.4 million contract through the 2022-23 season, club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced Thursday.

Gavrikov, 24, recorded five goals and 13 assists for 18 points with 18 penalty minutes and a +1 plus/minus rating in 69 contests with Columbus in 2019-20.  He led all Blue Jackets rookies in assists and time on ice (18:59) and ranked second in points and shots on goal (81), while finishing sixth-T among NHL rookie defensemen in goals and points and seventh-T in assists. 

Gavrikov added 1-2-3 and six penalty minutes in 10 playoff outings, including scoring his first career postseason goal in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Qualifying Series against Toronto on Aug. 7.

“Vladimir Gavrikov was everything we hoped he would be during his rookie season last year, establishing himself as a top four defenseman in the National Hockey League,” said Kekalainen.  “He is still a young player that we expect will get better every year and continue to be an important part of our blueline.”

The Yaroslavl, Russia native made his NHL regular season debut on October 5, 2019 at Pittsburgh and notched his first career goal on November 15, 2019 versus St. Louis.  The defenseman made his NHL debut with Columbus in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on May 4, 2019 at Boston and skated in two Stanley Cup Playoffs contests in 2019.

Prior to his NHL debut, Gavrikov recorded 16-33-49, 96 penalty minutes and a +97 plus/minus rating in 222 career games in the Kontinental Hockey League split between Yaroslavl and SKA St. Petersburg from 2014-19.  In 2018-19, he tallied 5-15-20, 10 penalty minutes and led the KHL in plus/minus rating at +48 in 60 games with SKA St. Petersburg.

The 6-3, 213-pound blueliner was selected by the Blue Jackets in the sixth round, 159th overall, at the 2015 NHL Draft.  He has represented Russia at numerous international competitions, including the 2018 Olympic Games, where he collected 2-1-3, six penalty minutes and was +6 in six contests to help the Olympic Athletes of Russia win the gold medal.  He also played in the 2017 (bronze medal), 2018 and 2019 IIHF World Championships and the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championships, where he won a silver medal.