Irresponsible Rumormongering

Could Pavel Buchnevich be the next big trade chip for the NY Rangers?

As the Rangers move into the next phase of their rebuild, looking into the longer term outlook is going to be on the forefront of minds. With so much focus on Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome due to immediate impact, it’s human nature to overlook other parts of the roster. Right wing is becoming crowded, and even with Jesper Fast’s expiring contract, there is a logjam. It makes you wonder if the most expensive in the short term, Pavel Buchnevich, is the next big trade chip for the NY Rangers.

I blame Rob for bringing this up. While the tweet centers around Fast, looking at cap implications 2-3 years down the road, with a flat cap, and Pavel Buchnevich’s name is starting to come to mind. Buchnevich, the Blueshirts’ top RW at the moment, has one year on his deal left before becoming an RFA with arbitration rights. He’d have one year of cost controlled contract status before hitting UFA. Fast doesn’t even have an impact on Buchnevich because they are different players with different roles.

The Contract Timing

The contract expires after next season, in which he will likely get a hefty pay raise. Even assuming the flat cap, Buchnevich is sporting a $3.25 million cap hit and a $3.5 million salary. His qualifying offer will be around $3.5 million as well. However that is very cheap for Buchnevich. He’s due a raise.

The major contract factors now, and these impact his trade value, are his lack of long-term commitment and his pending raise. It’s expected he could get as much as $6 million annually on a long-term deal.

The good news is that after next season, the Rangers shed Brendan Smith, Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal, and the big year of Kevin Shattenkirk’s buyout. The bad news is that money will likely be taken up in part by Tony DeAngelo (if he’s not traded) next season, and then Filip Chytil, Ryan Lindgren, and Igor Shesterkin when Buchnevich’s contract expires. There are also extensions for Kaapo Kakko and potentially Vitali Kravtsov to consider the following year.

The Production

The last two seasons, he’s been on a 50-point pace while clicking on the top line with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider. He does a lot more on that line than you’d think, driving offense and defense while facing top competition. He’s just a very good RW who doesn’t do anything flashy. He just puts up points and does the little things.

There is a lot of evidence that supports Buchnevich as one of the driving forces on the KZB line. Much like how Jesper Fast does a lot of the little things for Strome and Panarin.

The Depth And The Problem

Much like with DeAngelo, there’s a chance that Buchnevich sees himself as a 3RW in the near future. By no fault of his own, Kakko and Kravtsov have higher offensive ceilings. That’s just how it plays out right now. It’s also why Pavel Buchnevich might find himself as the trade chip. The good thing for Buchnevich is that the Rangers can kick this can down the road a few years.

It is likely Kakko forces himself into a top-six role as soon as next year, with Kravtsov most likely sliding into the 3RW role Kakko played this year. Assuming both players stay on their expected development paths, both could be outscoring Buchnevich as soon as the 2021-2022 season. These are all question marks, and nothing is guaranteed. This makes it different than the DeAngelo situation, in which he’s already the 3RD at even strength by no fault of his own.

This is also where the flat cap burned the Rangers. They will free up cap space. Perhaps the cap gurus in the front office have found a way to keep all three for at least the next Buchnevich contract. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

The Outside Factors

This is where Strome’s contract has an impact on Buchnevich. If the Rangers commit to Strome long-term, which would be a mistake in my opinion, then it’s likely the Rangers can’t afford to keep Buchnevich. It may come down to sacrificing Strome now to keep Buchnevich in the mix for his next contract.

In theory, a four year deal at around $6 million –less than Kreider’s $6.5 million cap hit– is market value that might work for the Rangers. With contract bridges Rangers can buy themselves time. They can also hope for cap ceiling increases over time.

However there is value in having Pavel Buchnevich as a trade chip. It’s arguable that he might have the same value or more than DeAngelo given the whole package of factors. Many of the decisions made this offseason will impact Buchnevich’s future with the Rangers.

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  • Sign him to an extension after this season (4-5 years @ $5-5.5M per), before his cap hit becomes a true hindrance. Until Kakko proves he’s a day in day out top line RW and until Kravtsov proves he can probably be an every day contributor to the top 6 (by at least being a Top 9 contributor), you would be crazy to move Buch.

    • I agree. If they are going to trade, trade frome strength. Forward is not an embarrassment of riches for the Rangers.

      • I’m thinking we’re pretty well set at Forward right now aside from the need to upgrade our bottom 6 — and I think the key to being a TRUE perennial contender is to keep roster changes to a minimum on a yearly basis. You should really just need to make a couple of changes a year (unless the Cap squeezes you to death), no more than that and rely on the improvement of younger players as they gain experience – so Kravtsov, Gauthier, Chytil, Kakko, Lemieux plus a smattering of Gettinger, Barron, maybe a Henriksson, Panjuniemi, etc. is a decent amount of depth in the system. Plus we have two 1st rounders this year and retain all our other 1st rounders.

        The base is solid … besides, even a player like Howden still has room and time to grow into a decent bottom 6 guy (I haven’t given up on him quite yet unlike many here). No, he’ll never be a dynamic Top 6 guy, but a good team only needs 7-8 of those type of guys (just like they need a good 7-8 bottom 6 role players).

      • The Rangers have a decent amount of depth especially on the outside at wing.
        Personally I’d rather trade Strome at the next Entry Draft. Buchnevich is a home grown Ranger. Strome was a nice rental addition.
        Buchnevich is the better all around forward and does more of the little things that will allow stars to be more aggressive when the situation warrants.

  • I’m not at all convinced they are keeping Strome. Or at least not past a 1 year deal for next season. Chytil takes over the 2nd line C spot next to Panarin.

    To me, the big issue is a couple of years down the road when Zib comes due. If he’s looking for $10 million + (and why wouldn’t he), then the room to maneuver under the cap will be difficult.

    • “Chytil takes over the 2nd line C spot next to Panarin.”
      Philip was very good at 2c when Mika was down, but DQ don’t trust young players too much and he put Strome and Fast there and they actually had to play on 3rd and 4th line. Panera bear them. Maybe even me would be looking good playing with him

      • “Maybe even me would be looking good playing with him” Didn’t you say that you never played a competitive hockey game?

  • One thing is for sure TDA needs to be traded he is simply NOT needed with our talent behind him and coming up along with the fact his Defense is not as good as we would have hoped. He does play the right-side which is valuable in the NHL. A flat out trade for the Fin Kapanen would be the perfect trade. One we could trade Strome at the deadline and Kapanen could fill his shoes at 3.2M cap hit for the next two seasons and Toronto would love TDA! Strome can bring a high 2nd round pick or a mid round first. Solving the issue of paying his 5.5 to 6M per! The other problem and having two Fin’s meaning adding Kakko to that line with Panarin makes perfect sense.

    • Hello Mark
      “One thing is for sure TDA needs to be traded”
      no offense but sometimes you have to know what are you talking about and from your post I guess You don’t

  • It’s been fun watching Buchnevich slowly but steadily improve over the past few seasons. There’s no reason to think that upwards arc will end any time soon. However, is he a top 6 forward on a team that is seriously going to compete for a Cup, which I expect starting in 2021-22? There, the jury is still out.

  • At this stage of the game, I’d keep Buch around for at least till the trading deadline of next season, giving Gauthier another season to develop, and trade Strome instead.

    What I’d consider doing, and this isn’t too far fetched, is moving Kravstov to the 3C position, and have Chytil go to the 2C position, working with Panarin, and Kakko. FYI-Kravstov has played center, and both wings in the past, so he can be moved around easily. This is what we would look like:


    Filip Chytil- Breadman-Kakko
    Greg McKegg-Phil Di Giuseppe-Brett Howden

    This could be a nice line up, cost controlled, and room enough to add as needed down the road. If Howden doesn’t work out, then we still have options, and or free agents to fill in.

  • I have no idea why.
    As usually when we have good young players the question is always arise about to trade him/them. ADA in discussion b/c he is due to raise, Buch? Top 3-6 F one of the best in P/60. Yeah we have unproven some youth and we hope they will be great, any guaranty on that? And why we can’t have good young players and pay them instead of FAs. Buch is maybe a single player on the team who doesn’t just dump puck to the O zone but have smooth entry and creating a play. I love this kid and he will not ask a fortune in the raise, to me he is a keeper, but you guys…. whatever is your call.
    ” If the Rangers commit to Strome”… well I would hate JD for doing that

  • I’d rather sell high on Strome, and keep guys with better skills like Buchnevich and DeAngelo. Strome has worked well with Panarin, but his production is more the result of Panarin’s greatness than Strome’s own qualities. He has been a good player and I respect what he has done, but I place a higher value on skills.

    Keep Buchnevich for now, trade Strome, slot Chytil in as 2C and let the kid grow into the role. Keep DeAngelo, move him to LD if need be, unless someone knocks you over with a deal, because Tony has the skills that are hard to find. Keeping him gives you killer scoring from the back end that few teams can match.

  • Strome is the key to a lot here. I suspect that the Rangers will want to keep him, and, if they must, then a one or two year deal is preferred.

    Buch has to be kept. Now it is possible that the Rangers think that Gaut can fill the bill on the 2nd or 3rd line. If that’s the case, then Buch will probably be traded. But I hope not. Buch is just hitting his stride now.

    • doubt 2nd, possible in 9, but for sure not the Buch level
      “Now it is possible that the Rangers think that Gaut can fill the bill on the 2nd or 3rd line.”

      • I agree Mike, Gaut would be better on the 3rd line, but this is the Rangers that we are talking about.

        I want Buch to stay. Put either Kakko, Krav, or Gaut on the left side.

        • Tony

          Here is where Krav comes into play. The kid has played both wings, and the fall off as far as production is minimal at best. The kid, given a chance, could be a gem for this team. He is that good, but time will tell how they develop him?????????????

          • Hey bro.

            I think the Rangers recognize Krav’s talent, but now are “scared” as to his mental preparedness to play in the NHL, and to play in NYC.

            So his spot is not “guaranteed” for next year, IMO. If he has a strong camp, then sure, but his spot is not “automatic” IMO.

          • Tony

            No one’s spot should be guaranteed, but the point was he can play many positions. Let the kid run with an opportunity, that’s it!!!!!!!!!!!

          • I disagree Walt, Howden’s spot is guaranteed, no matter how badly he plays.

  • I hope the Rangers wouldn’t trade Buchnevich just to resign Fast. I would let him walk and either hope for Kratsov to finally make the jump or a cheap free agent bottom six player.

    As to Strome I think he will be around for at least 1 more season. I hope DeAngelo is extended, he’s really good and should be a Ranger for year to come.

    • At this point, Fast is a luxury that we don’t need.

      Just because the coach miscasts him as a top 6, does not make him a top 6.

      Especially when there are several others who are better in the top 6, than Fast. Including Gauthier. The Rangers are wasting this goal scorer’s skills. What else is new?

  • Strome will ask close to Hayes, and he is far not the same level of the player. Let’s be honest, Strome in a really good team is a 3rd line center, there reason for it – skills, no speed, no physical play, can not finish, can not drive the puck, no creativity. Good for him playing with Breadman, but he is not the guy. It’s long overdue Chytil would get real chance with the Breadman, or move Ziba to Bread and let Chytil center Kreids and Buch. TRADE STROME NOW.

    As of Buch, keep him untill Kaako and Krav are ready, then trade him while his value is high

  • Why is it no one seems to bring up the fact that this virus has been a financial nightmare for this country. Which means these players and their agents need to realize salaries will have to possibly go down. How do they expect owners to pay them more money when there is no revenue coming in? Do they honestly think they should get raises when businesses are folding and people are losing their jobs? It’s time these players face reality and see this world for what it is right now.

    • Johnny Red

      I agree with your post, but unfortunately there are GM’s who don’t know how to count, and will pay thru the nose for some of these undeserving players…………………………………

  • I hope not, he only just started showing his skills, he is young, and Rangers are in a rebuild or whatever it’s called now. I believe they’ll legit playoff contenders. Players like Strome, Staal, Smith, Hank, and if Fast is asking too much, are where the Rangers’ make cap space for their keepers.

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