New York Rangers: Listening to trade offers for Pavel Buchnevich is the right play

By Frank Curto
Feb 4, 2021; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) celebrates after scoring an empty net goal against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

When is it the right time to make a trade in today’s NHL? Who does a GM think will improve their team? Who should a general manager make available? These are just some of the questions New York Rangers’ Chris Drury is asking himself. 

Pavel Buchnevich is coming off a season-best in points, which is why this might be the best time for the New York Rangers to trade the forward. Or at least listen to what teams have to offer.

According to several reports, that’s what appears to be happening for Pavel.

Listening on trade offers for Buchnevich is the right play

The 26 year-old Buchnevich is coming off a career season, where he collected 20 goals and 48 points in just 54 games. The 2021 season was shorter due to the pandemic, but calculated to an 82 game season it would be close to 30 goals and 70+ points.

Many are asking why trade Buch following such an impressive season on Broadway. 

There are two reasons; Money and Value.

pavel buchnevich trade rumors
Mar 6, 2021; Newark, New Jersey, USA; New York Rangers right wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) celebrates a goal by defenseman Libor Hajek (25) (not pictured) during the second period of their game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Money: Buchnevich is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He is coming off his second contract with the Rangers that paid him $6.5 million over two years ($3.25 AAV).

There is no doubt that he’s going to get a raise. Furthermore, if he goes through the arbitration process and is awarded a deal by the arbitrator, it could be more than the Rangers are willing to take on. There’s even a slim chance that Drury could walk away and allow Buchnevich to be a UFA.

Value: He is a highly valued commodity in the league. The Rangers will most certainly have to move a top-six forward to complete any deal they are involved in for a top center.

His skill and age would improve any team immediately. The value Drury could get in return would include a ready-now NHL player at the very least. This deal would begin the resolution of problems at the center position or help boost the blue-line. 

Losing Buchnevich would sting

Trading any popular player hurts the fan base. This team is only a few years out from the “rebuild” that saw Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash and others moved to other teams so that the Rangers could stockpile draft picks.

The club also has few options on who they could move to get the best return.

Buchnevich has the most appeal on this roster unless Drury considers a player like Kappo Kakko, but I doubt the club has given up on the #2 overall pick in the 2019 Draft. 

To get better from last season, to have the “hardest working team” in the NHL as head coach Gerard Gallant said he wants to be this season, transactions need to be made.

Maybe it will be Buchnevich saying goodbye to New York or possibly it will be others. One thing is certain if you want to improve, changes need to be made now. Sometimes, difficult ones.

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