In case you missed it, and since it was signed at 8pm on a Friday night, you might have, the Rangers have inked Pavel Buchnevich to a two-year contract extension at $3.25 million per season. This comes about a week after the Rangers inked their other big RFA, Jacob Trouba, to a monster deal. With those two locked up, arguably their two most important, and most expensive, RFAs are signed.
1. This is a good deal for both player and team. The Rangers are low on cap space and a longer term deal might have hurt them even more. For Buchnevich, he just scored 20 goals in 60 games. A long term deal on that number might have hurt his long term cash in. It makes sense to get the bridge, improve on that and possibly hit 30 goals, then cash in after two years when the Rangers free up tons of cap space.
2. This should eliminate the idea that the Rangers are going to dangle Buchnevich to free up cap space. It’s rare to get a 20 goal scorer for $3 million and change. In the salary cap era, it’s all about bang for your buck, and this is as good as it gets beyond your ELC value. Buchnevich is a top-six winger who already has chemistry with the team’s 1C. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
3. It sounds like this deal was actually finalized a while ago, but the Rangers and the Buchnevich camp delayed the announcement. With the way the NHL works, and GMs looking to take advantage of cash strapped teams, Jeff Gorton likely wanted to wait until he had a cap savings move in place before announcing this deal. That’s my guess. Sunday’s are rare days for announcements, so I wouldn’t be surprised if something is announced today or early next week. Of course I wouldn’t be surprised if nothing is announced either.
4. I have Brendan Lemieux pegged for about $1 million and Tony DeAngelo pegged for about $2 million – maybe a little less. If you assume $3 million for those two, then the Rangers would need to clear about $7 million to get under the cap, without regard for bonuses for Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov. It is not an easy task, but it is certainly doable.
5. At the risk of just regurgitating what @HockeyStatMiner (a great follow on Twitter) said, the Blueshirts can do this by buying out Brendan Smith to clear about $3 million, demoting Matt Beleskey ($1 million), and then trading one of Vlad Namestnikov or Chris Kreider. Instead of trading one of them, they could buyout Kevin Shattenkirk, which would get them under this year, but screw them next year when there is virtually no cap savings on that buyout. Of course, trading Shatty at 50% retained would do it as well. Basically, the Rangers have options, and it is not a foregone conclusion that Kreider is the odd-man out.
6. Speaking of buyouts, the second buyout window for the Rangers closes on Wednesday. Everyone and their mother is going to say that the Blueshirts are going to buyout someone, but until that move actually comes, take all “sources” with a grain of salt. Only take something seriously if there’s is an actual person behind the account, and not “HockeyInsidrrrrrrrr” on Twitter. Larry Brooks has been missing a lot lately, but he still has an inside ear to the organization. Bob McKenzie and Elliotte Friedman are the best for this.
7. I still think the Rangers are going to prefer the trade route, even at 50% retained, over buyouts. It just makes more sense logically, especially with Shatty. I mentioned in point #4 about bonuses for ELCs, and those could get up to $4 million next season if both Kravtsov and Kakko exceed expectations. That may be a problem if Kreider does extend in New York."Thoughts following the Pavel Buchnevich contract",