Irresponsible Rumormongering

Filling major roster holes might cost Pavel Buchnevich in a trade

We are barely a week into the NY Rangers offseason, and there are still questions abound. Despite being much more active than anticipated, the Rangers still have a bunch of roster holes. The most glaring ones are at middle-six center and left defense. To properly fill those holes, the Rangers might need to part with Pavel Buchnevich in a trade.

The Big Trade Chip

In July, I wrote about how Buchnevich might be the next big trade chip for the Rangers. In July, I thought the Rangers might get one more year out of Buchnevich before really looking to trade him. However given the events, or lack thereof, over the past few days, that timing may be sooner rather than later.

Of all the trade chips, including Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo, Buchnevich has the most value.

Buchnevich is a very good all around player. He’s around a 50 point pace top-six winger who is solid in all three zones. He’s not flashy, he doesn’t put up the big points, but he’s a very important cog in that KZB line.

This is where Buchnevich sets himself apart from both Strome and DeAngelo in trade value. He does it in all three zones while younger than Strome and the same age (ok, 6 months older) as DeAngelo. He also doesn’t have any questions about repeat-ability, since he’s done it for multiple seasons already.

Dealing From a Position of Strength

The Rangers are absolutely loaded on wing. Buchnevich is currently the top RW, with Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov likely taking middle-six roles this coming season. Julien Gauthier is slated to be the 4th line winger as it stands today.

This may work for this coming season, but at some point Kakko and Kravtsov should need top-six roles. They are both supremely talented. It’s also unlikely the Rangers trade either of them, given their cost certainty. The Rangers are blessed with three right wingers who have top-six or better potential. That’s a major position of strength.

Cost Certainty in a Flat Cap Era

This is the big one. We can argue til the cows come home about whether or not Jesper Fast was a cap casualty. However the first *true* cap casualty will be Buchnevich.

Buchnevich is due a qualifying offer of $3.5 million next offseason, but his contract is likely to come in around the $5 million range over multiple years. He has one year of restricted free agency before he hits the open market, which keeps his price down somewhat, but not all that much. A 50 point pace top-six winger who is solid all around will get paid.

If Taylor Hall, who only outscored Buchnevich by eight assists last season, can get one year and $8 million as a “reclamation year,” then the guarantee of Buchnevich should be worth multiple years and $5 million. He’s going to be too expensive for his future role on the Rangers, but he might be the perfect price for a different team.

And that’s the concern going forward – Buchnevich’s role going forward. He’s the 1RW today, but with Kakko and Kravtsov likely to pass him on the depth chart, he’s might be the 3RW soon. Can the Rangers afford to pay a 3RW $5 million? Can they do it when they’ve already committed $6.5 million to Chris Kreider? The answer is no.

This is the same situation the Rangers have with Tony DeAngelo. However unlike with DeAngelo, the Rangers can’t just move Buchnevich to LW, where they are already stacked. It’s a necessity in the cap era.

It is better to trade a player one year too early than one year too late. While that may not apply to Buchnevich’s production, it may apply to his value and contract. This is the unfortunate reality of a flat cap era. Pavel Buchnevich may be the Rangers’ best trade chip this offseason.

Charts from Evolving Hockey.

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  • my feeling on this is that ideally you know what kravtsov is at the NHL level first, but im not sure they will have that luxury. probably wont at this rate.

  • The only caveat I have is: lets not automatically hand a future top wing position to Kravtsov, before he even plays one game in the League. The Andersson debacle should be food for thought for everyone. No need to rush him. I have no problem dealing Buch in order to get back a decent centerman or defenseman. But not for just another Ryan Strome type. Some body with REAL talent who can make these young kids better. Its not going to be easy; there’s not too many available that they can get without breaking the bank. Its going to take time and patience to get this lineup where they want it to be. JD said: “……we’re not even close..” to being a contender……so we all need to pump the breaks a bit and let it all play out.

  • Yes Buch is less cost controlled and will be more expensive than Kravtsov in the upcoming contention window, but it might be a little early to already claim definitively that Kravtsov will pass Buch on the depth chart. Kravtsov has yet to show the skills he flashed in Russia in NA, and while everyone would love for him to develop and improve, aren’t we just hoping that he turns into [a younger] Buch?
    Trading Buch would be interesting, especially if the NYR can get a 1 or 2C out of it, and I especially liked your Twitter hypothetical of Buch+ADA, but at some point the Rangers have to sign SOME mid-career players to compliment their established stars and ELC up-and-comers

    • But not this year….. and probably next year is going to be as bad as this one and they could give him 1 year contract and pretty on the same money

  • This makes perfect sense, except you seem to be forgetting this is the same management that just signed JJ and will probably put him on the pair.

  • Everything that’s been said below about Kravstov also applies to Kakko. So far, he’s done nothing to show that he deserves a spot on the 1st, or even 2nd, line.

  • RW as a position of strength? Until you can tell me who has a legitimate shot at being the OTHER Top 6 RW (Kakko being the only one), Buch needs to stay. Don’t say Kravs or Gauthier, they haven’t even come close to proving they’re ready yet.

    • I’ll go even further. Excluding Lundqvist and guys who played only only a few games, Kakko was the worst Ranger last year by far. Yes, he is still young and he likely will be an NHLer someday, but I suspect he will never be as good as Buchnevich is.

      And Gauthier was just acquired in trade for Joey Keane. He looks good, but we can hardly pencil him in as a can’t miss top six forward.

      A key reason for the Ranger collapse a few years back was leaving spaces on the team for kids (who turned out not to be ready). Management should be open to having kids push veterans aside, but they should not make the path easy.

      • Little early to say Kakko will never be as good as Buch. Yeah, he had a rough start, but he’s 19, 1st time playing here. The talent is there, and he looked noticeably better late in the season when he returned from an injury, was much more confident with the puck. The best you can say about him is “he likely will be an NHLer someday”???

        • No, What I said precisely is “I suspect he will never be as good as Buchnevich is”. It is hardly too early to have suspicions. In fact, a large part of what we do here is project where we believe a lot of these kids will end up.

          The issue at hand is not whether Kakko is worth keeping. Obviously with a talented 19 year old kid, you either develop him or demand a pretty penny in trade. My point is that you simply don’t move a damn good hockey player (which Buch is) out of the way to make room for someone who is not a sure thing to be a star.

      • Kakko looked much better after the break, so I highly doubt he won’t end up better than Buch. It took Buch a number of years before he came over to play … and another 3+ years to develop into the player he is today. Give Kakko 6 years of “development” and he’ll be definitively better.

      • Kappo Played with 4th line players and got 23 points. Fast played on the second line and got 29 points with the best player in the league. Kappo was the worst?

        • Don’t forget … hockey is a TEAM game. Look at the overall performance of the lines. Fast played with the first and third highest point producers on the team, and neither Panarin nor Strome had to worry much about the gritty part of the game, because Quicky was always there, making sure that got taken care of.

          • Please don’t think Fast is like someone like Martin. Fast was a faux Martin, went to the dirty areas and hurt no one except my eyes. How can someone throw a check and hurt anyone. A real check is like the one he got against Skyaj or however you spell it. Fast had good intentions and his heart was big and everyone liked him. That wins games. Feelings! I fee so emotional now I have to stop writing.

  • The devil you know… I mean, we know what Buch is, where he came from and where he will likely go, please don’t trade him at this point.

    Nay

  • The Hall/Skinner signings are crazy. 17 million dollars in salary and combined the 2 wingers scored less then 30 goals between the 2 of them last season.

    All the good reason for a club to draft well, develop their players and keep the pipeline full of talented prospects. Buch could very well become the next cap casualty.

  • While I personally hate to loose Buch, the “team first” mentality should prevail, for the future of our team – it is important that we give more minutes to KK and Kravy when latter gets here, it definitely makes sense to try to move Buch and ADA now, while they have highest trade value, we are at least 2-3 years away from seriously contending, by that time there is no need to have big$$ committed to those as their respective roles will be diminished

  • This is a loaded topic! Trade or not to trade. (Buch).

    On one side we know what we have in Buch,on the other what do we have or know with Kakko,Kravtsov Gauthier at this point.

    Do we weaken one area to strengthen another.
    If we trade Buch and we get back a bonifide 2C, then it’s doable, if we resign Strome he can play wing.
    However, at this point it’s not something that should looked at this point.

  • What options are there? Based on what the Rangers need and other teams looking for RW–what is possible? I imagine they’d want to use him for a center or a LHD.

    Any guesses where he’d go and what the trade would look like?

  • The Rangers do not having glaring holes on left defense. Ryan Lindgren is a legit first pair left D. Johnson, Bitetto, Smith can hold down the fort for this year and if they add another of similar stature, there should be fine. Not at the start of the season, but mid-year K’Andre Miller may force his way into the lineup.

    And I don’t really understand Libor Hajek. He’s been mostly awful, but I was impressed with him at Traverse City. He might emerge as a good defensemen. And there are other guys to evaluate as well – Robertson, Jones, Reuanen.

    This is a rebuild. This is a rebuild. This is a rebuild. The point is that you don’t polish the team until you see what you have. Is this team better situated at left defense or right wing – we just don’t know, especially with the loss of Fast.

    Incidentally, declining to give Fast a third year if you were planning to trade Buch is the height of stupidity. Buch may be dealt in a trade too good to pass up, but if Gorton was planning to trade Buch all along, he is an idiot.

  • We know the Golden Knights want Pietrangelo. If they dont get him, they will come hard after ADA. Would you add Buch to ADA and get J. Marchessault and their best LD?

    • Young pivots Cody Glass or Peyton Krebs have to part of any deal if the Rangers ship ADA to Vegas. I am still of the opinion the Ranger should sign the young promising rearguard to a bridge deal. He continues to prove the critics wrong.

  • I can’t help but think they are talking with Tampa on Sergachev or Cirelli. I can’t see how Tampa can keep either of these players with their cap issues, and it appears no one is going to help them with their cap issues. I could see us try something like Nils Lundqvist for Sergachev. May sound crazy, but it would work for both sides. Sergachev is going to be a 3LD on Tampa, but he’ll be a 1LD for us. Nils Lundqvist is looking to be a 3RD for us and he would probably eventually be a 1D in Tampa paired with Hedman. We’d most likely have to move on from ADA and/or Strome in this case.

    • If we do that then we’re basically kicking the can down the road and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. With Miller, Robertson and Jones coming up some LDs (Lindgren possibly included) will need to move within a couple of years. We keep ADA until Schneider is ready to step in as the 3rd pairing (of course Trouba might be the one to go when his NMC turns into a limited M-NTC in 2024).

      • agree with you, but keep in mind Sergachev has now won a cup. Miller, Robertson and Jones have never played in the NHL. Not saying they won’t, but you know what you are getting with Sergachev. I would be fine with keeping ADA as well, but the expansion draft is next year and you can only protect 3 D men and Trouba is one of them because of the NMC. So it’s ADA, Sergachev assuming you get him, and then Lindgren is exposed? There’s a lot of moving parts.

  • I do not agree that Buch has more trade value than ADA. An RD who finishes 4th in the league in D scoring is extremely rare.
    However, the only way they should move Buch is in a lateral trade for a center like Nylander, who by all accounts is being made available for cap space issues

  • Maybe we could trade Kreider for a 2c. I like Kreider but 6.5 is a lot for a player that will be on the 3rd line by mid-season.

  • The Rangers are “loaded” at right wing if you take it on faith that the kids are going to be as good as we hope. I believe that Buchnevich can be a consistent 50 point winger for the Rangers. He has been around a while, but he is only 25. So, unless you get a young center with similar abilities, or a top pair LD in the deal, I am not so sure you rush to trade him. The Rangers do have a lot of decisions to make!

  • I really don’t see what’s all the hype is about. It’s not like he was lightning up the red light. What once in the playoffs in the khl. Trade him now while they can get something back of equal value. We need to get bigger faster and physical.

  • I think that trading Buch and “assuming” that the young RWs will offset Buch’s production is very foolish.

    I get it, Buch will get paid after this year, but he’s one of the best producers on the team, and is playing a 2 way game now.

    We seem to like to trade our players just when they’re starting to get good.

    • “I think that trading Buch and “assuming” that the young RWs will offset Buch’s production is very foolish.”

      ^ Is this the same person who thought that Andersson, Chytil and Howden could offset KH in 2017-19? Or is this from you learning how not to expect none proven names as penincled in talent?

      It’s not about Buch getting paid… It’s not like he will command a 5.5+ mill for 5-6 years deal… I can’t see the Rangers going north of a 3 year term for him(even if they loved him). It’s more about how his role has been reduced before he has even been physically being pushed out yet.. He had at the end of the AV era up until now to gain a PP1 role and be a full time job as a top line privot for Zib… He has played next to a top 15 center the past two season’s. He has had ample amount of time to put up serious points with Kreider being hurt the past 3 season’s. The PK has needed extra bodies since 2017, both AV and Quinn have tried him on their and he still stinks(can’t be trusted to close out games). JD won’t have to go to far to see how he has had numerous chances at just about every role. It also doesn’t help how he needs 5v5 with Zib in order to be the best version of himself.

      You don’t put a talent like Kakko on the third line and Laffy without your best 1c…. Those are legit draft lottery picks that will need the room to be groomed. Those two alone help push Buch off this roster. Kravstov was a top 10 pick and should 100% get the same treatment that you wanted to give Buch, Chytil, Andersson etc upon arrival.

      • Actually, it is about Buch getting paid. If Buch were on a 3 year bridge contract, then he would not be traded.

        Can the others replace him? We hope so, but can anyone say 100% “yes?” As optimistic as I am about them, even I cannot say “yes.”

  • Because of the flat cap there is no such thing as trading a guy a year too early. Everyone knows everyone else’s cap situation. It’s more of a situation to get sometning for him instead of walking away(arbitration) or letting him just walk as a free agent. Most teams are going to have players like that every year the next few years.

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