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The Los Angeles Kings have signed Vladislav Gavrikov to a two-year contract extension, securing one of the top defensemen who would have been available in free agency.

A pending unrestricted free agent, Gavrikov’s contract has an average annual value of $5.875 million through the 2024-25 season. Most of his contract will be paid out in signing bonuses: $10.2 million in total, with a base salary of $775,000 in those two years. The contract also carries a no-movement clause.

Gavrikov, 27, had 19 points in 72 games between the Kings and the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. Known more for his physical defense rather than his offense, he averaged 21:58 in ice time per game. He saw time with both defensemen Drew Doughty and Matt Roy with the Kings.

The Kings acquired Gavrikov in a trade deadline deal with the Blue Jackets that also included goalie Joonas Korpisalo. More notably for Los Angeles, it was the trade that sent Stanley Cup winning franchise goalie Jonathan Quick out the door.

Los Angeles set up this deal with a three-way trade involving Columbus on Tuesday. The Kings sent defenseman Sean Walker and goalie Cal Petersen in a package to the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman Ivan Provorov. They kept 30% of Provorov’s salary and then traded him to the Blue Jackets for veteran defenseman Kevin Connauton. The trade opened up slightly over $4.8 million in additional cap space.

For Gavrikov, the two-year term will bridge him though the NHL’s currently stagnant salary cap. Commissioner Gary Bettman said recently that the salary cap might only rise $1 million to $83.5 million in 2023-24. There have been projections showing that cap could rise to well over $90 million by the 2025-26 season.

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Busy Kings sign D-man Vadlislav Gavrikov to extension