Rangers Roundup: Garden relocation, the Buchnevich trade, and more

The idea of relocating the recently remodeled Madison Square Garden for a waterfront location sounds nice, but it’s filled with a lot of questions.

According to the Buffalo Chronicle, NY Governor Kathy Hochul proposed relocating the World’s Most Famous Arena to Dewitt Clinton Park between 52nd and 54th Streets. In the article, it even indicated that owner James Dolan was “generally onboard.”

Madison Square Garden relocation

One of the biggest issues that seems to be glossed over is transportation to the new arena, which mentioned the possibility of building a light rail. The benefit on sitting atop Penn Station can’t be ignored.

“The new arena is expected to be a super-modern, super-comfortable venue in a corner of Manhattan that is very centrally located but doesn’t feel as hyper-congested and gritty as the 33rd Street location,” an official with Empire State Development said to the Buffalo Chronicle.  “The new arena’s construction cost is expected to cost New York State taxpayers $800 million, which is the estimated fair market cost of using eminent domain to acquire MSG’s interests in the property.”

Another question mark is the estimated cost.

In Seattle, the refurbishing of Climate Pledge Arena to accommodate the Kraken came out to $1.15 billion. It’s hard to see it coming in so much less.

madison square garden
Jan 3, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers celebrate the 4-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers after the game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Then there’s the question of the permanent property tax exemption received by Madison Square Garden at its current location. Would that carry over to the new site?

A source familiar with the situation called it all a logistical nightmare and does not see it happening.

Trading Pavel Buchnevich

The Rangers traded Pavel Buchnevich to the Blues in exchange for forward Sammy Blais and a second-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. St. Louis then quickly signed the RFA to a four-year, $23.2 million contract on July 27 that included a modified no-trade clause.

When he was traded, fans were in an uproar and rightfully so. The understood reasoning behind the trade was to clear cap space for the future. At the time. the Rangers were still a suitor for Jack Eichel but would not meet Buffalo’s ridiculous asking price. Had they acquired Eichel, it is likely that Mika Zibanejad would not have been extended.

This season, Buchnevich has become one of St. Louis’ top players. In 34 games, the former #1 RW of the Rangers has 14 goals and 35 points.

rangers trade buchnevich
Apr 6, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Pavel Buchnevich #89 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal against Casey DeSmith #1 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at 10:41 of the third period at Madison Square Garden on April 06, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

New York’s issues on right wing only exacerbate the Buchnevich trade. But according to a source familiar with the previous management’s thinking, they wouldn’t have made that deal.

“[GM Jeff Gorton] would’ve never traded him for that,” the source said. “Whenever his name came up previously, it would be for a roster player making less money. He is too good of a player to trade him for what they traded him for.”

Forever Blueshirts also learned that Blues GM Doug Armstrong was after Buchnevich for some time.

The question remains, what would the Jeff Gorton have done with Buchnevich for this season?

“Jeff would’ve held him and used as his own rental this year,” it was explained. “He’d be a very valuable guy for them now.”

Granted, that would’ve required Buchnevich to agree to a one year deal and then head to unrestricted free agency. While hindsight is 20/20, it would’ve have been great for this season if the Rangers could’ve found a way to keep him.

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