After not being available on Sunday for exit interviews, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov met with the media Thursday via Zoom.
One question had to be asked. Is he planning on re-signing with the Kings? As you'd expect, Gavrikov was fairly vague but was quick to point out that he enjoyed his time in Los Angeles.
"Yeah, we will talk about it I'm pretty sure," said Gavrikov on potentially re-signing. "Right now, we will have more time to discuss, but we'll see what happens."
He also joked about Drew Doughty's plans to convince him to stay.
"He's just talking, I'm still waiting for the check," Gavrikov said with a smile. "Shouldn't be a problem for (Doughty.) Whether I take it or not is a different story."
Gavrikov's future with the Kings is still very much in the air. It sounds like there's interest from both the player and the team to re-sign, but cap restraints will make that difficult. Something Rob Blake pointed out in his exit interview.
Regardless, it was a successful move for Gavrikov. He, alongside the entire team, was having a rough year with the Columbus Blue Jackets and resurrected his season in Los Angeles.
"Of course, LA was in a better spot in the standings (compared to Columbus) and were playing better," said Gavrikov on his improved play. "You can feel it right away, when you're on a good team you'll be good as well. But I like it, we played good I think. But we can do better. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to be a part of (the Kings). And like I said, we'll see what happens in the future."
He was one of the team's best defensemen down the stretch. And ironically, might have played too well for a re-signing to be possible.
Based on his performance, there's a good chance he gets an offer the Kings can't match this summer.
It's a wait-and-see game with Gavrikov.
From day one, Gavrikov complimented the organization on how welcoming they were to his family. And he touched on the off-ice aspect of his time with the Kings.
"Perfect I would say," said Gavrikov on his time in Los Angeles from an off-ice perspective. "If it is going to be short, I can talk about it a lot. But like, as I said before, the team and organization was nice with us. Not (just) me but when it comes to my family too. But we got here, everything was perfect. Everyone was so kind and nice. Which is good. My family loved to be here. Obviously, it's perfect. Off-ice it's pretty much all good."
Gavrikov's partnership with Matt Roy was an instant success. Statistically, they were one of the Kings' best pairs and gave the Kings a fantastic second pair to rely on.
"I actually didn't take a look at the numbers," said Gavrikov on his pairing with Roy. "Because it doesn't really matter for me. It's more about supporting the team winning games. So, it's like, trying to stay away from that. But I would say in general it took a little bit to adjust to the team. Not just playing with Matt or anybody else. It was more about me because we play differently, as far as like tactics and stuff, so those kinds of details you have to work on. But, as soon as I did that it was pretty easy to fit the lineup and play with anyone on the team."
While a lot of the questions were focused on Gavrikov individually. Gavrikov did give his thoughts on what went wrong against the Edmonton Oilers.
"A lot of details, it's the small details I would say," said Gavrikov. "Especially in the playoffs, you're playing (against) the team a lot, we played against the Oilers a lot this season. So, the guys pretty much know each other and what they're going to do. So, it's all about the small details and special teams and just competitiveness on the ice, stuff like that. So, it's really really close, but it's the playoffs and it's supposed to be like that all the time."
The trade to Los Angeles was the first time Gavrikov was traded in his career. And he touched on what he learned from that experience.
"So hard to say, I was traded back in Russia but that was during the summer, which is kind of easier," said Gavrikov. "But here, you have to learn on the fly, I would say. Things happen so fast. That day (of the trade) was my wife's birthday so that just made it more special for her. I don't think she was expecting that in the morning. We changed our plans a little bit, we planned a dinner, had gifts, balloons and flowers were all over the place. And at some point, we had to pack our stuff and leave. So it was just kind of special. She will never forget it, and neither will I. But, yeah that was kind of, something new. A new experience. But I'm always taking that opportunity to adventure. Something new and exciting about to come, so we were happy."
Whether Gavrikov returns or not. It's clear Los Angeles left a good impression on him and his family.
Blake has his work cut out for him this summer if he intends on re-signing Gavrikov. Making it an interesting few weeks coming up.