Buchnevich signing with Rangers could go down to the wire
In three days both the Rangers and Pavel Buchnevich will be in Toronto for their scheduled arbitration hearing. From what I can gather speaking to sources close to the situation is that a deal may not be announced until the 11th hour.
It’s Happened Before
On July 23rd, 2014 the Rangers and Chris Kreider basically made a deal on the courthouse steps minutes before the arbitration hearing. The Rangers also had to sign Kevin Hayes and were working with low cap space at the time.
Now, the Rangers are working with no space and could use all the time they can get. Jeff Gorton has to make some moves and decisions in order to get cap compliant. So the team could use every last minute to work the phones on trades up until that point. Also, once the last settlement is reached the second buyout window can be used.
Time As A Tool
Understanding all the dynamics above, even if the Rangers and Buchnevich have agreed to a deal in principle they don’t have to announce it right away. Both sides can agree and finalize on the day of if they wish in order to use all that time to the Blueshirts advantage.
Once the deal is announced it gives the Rangers time to complete the buyout of Brendan Smith. That $3.3M deal should just about cover what I expect to be a 2 year bridge deal with Buchnevich in the $3M to $3.5M range.
From there the Rangers will need about $3M to $4M to sign Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux, plus have a $1M cushion for call ups. That will likely come in the form of trading Vlad Namestnikov and Ryan Strome. Of course if they can’t move Namestnikov even with some salary retention, then they will be forced to trade Chris Kreider. The one player they would like to keep heading into next season.