Rangers Roundup: Jack Johnson clears waivers, penalty kill top three in the NHL, and trading Pavel Buchnevich

The noon whistle has sounded and as expected Jack Johnson cleared waivers. He will be placed on the Rangers taxi squad. This will free up a roster spot for when Igor Shesterkin rejoins the team and allow them to keep Keith Kinkaid up.

Rangers Penalty Kill an impressive turnaround

Give credit to where’s credit is due. The hiring of assistant coach Jacques Martin was a brilliant move as he’s turned the Rangers PK completely around in short order.

Last season the Blueshirts were meandering towards the bottom with a 77.4% efficiency rate. This year, Martin has them #3 overall with an impressive 87.1 PK% and just 2.3 points behind the Bruins for the best penalty kill in the entire league.

Furthermore, since January 30 the Blueshirts are operating at a 93.4% rate which is the best in the NHL. In their last 20 games, they also held their opponents to a stunning 79 shots over 65 opportunities. That’s an impressive 1.21 shots per power play allowed.

While Martin deserves a lot of credit, Pavel Buchnevich has been incredible on the PK with Mika Zibanejad. David Quinn saw something there and it was a great move by the coach.

Editor’s note: Some stats ctsy NYR

Pavel Buchnevich’s Rangers future

pavel buchnevich
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

The New York Rangers are neither sellers or buyers at this point in the season. With 15 games to go before the April 12 trade deadline, they may still work themselves into the playoff picture. If they don’t you can expect them to move players like Brendan Smith and Kevin Rooney for draft picks.

Pavel Buchnevich is the Rangers leading scorer this season with 22 points in 26 games. The 25 year-old leading the team is more a byproduct of Artemi Panarin being out for almost half the season due to injury and a leave of absence. Let’s not forget Mika Zibanejad’s Broadway sized slump either.

However, while the Rangers may have had him on the potential trade chip block for a center in the offseason, a change of heart is likely. That will happen when you play really well.

Though the organization seems stacked on the wings, moving the first-liner would create a hole that might take at least a couple of years to fill. If the Rangers are going to trade Buchnevich, they would have to get either a no-doubt, youngish top-six center or a more grinding-oriented winger in the mold of a Zach Hyman, let’s say, in return. Both of those scenarios seem unlikely.

Larry Brooks, NY Post

That’s why when doing my digging on the Jack Eichel trade rumors I was guided to Vitali Kravtsov and not Pavel Buchnevich being the right winger Jeff Gorton would rather move.