One of hockey’s top insiders, Frank Seravalli is reporting that the Rangers may be looking to trade RFA, Pavel Buchnevich. According to his report, he stated Chris Drury is talking with teams about a possible deal for the 26 year-old winger.
How much to make of this Buchnevich trade talk?
The Rangers have really enjoyed the player Buchnevich has developed into. Last season, he scored 48 points in 54 games but was a complete revelation on the PK. He and Mika Zibanejad weren’t just effective at killing them, they were a threat to score while doing so.
So why would the Rangers even think about trading him? First off, they have two bright young stars in Kaapo Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov that play the right wing. Both are on ELC’s with cost control for next season. Buchnevich, could be granted a one year award from an arbitrator as high as almost $5 million, which Drury can opt to walk away from.
I doubt that happens. The Rangers would absolutely get him under contract before getting to an arbitration hearing.
These trade conversations are likely just Drury doing his due diligence to engage interest in the market for Buchnevich’s value. Things can always go south when working out a new contract, plus you never know what another team is willing to give you for one of your players.
What’s next for Buchnevich
I believe the two sides will come to terms on a new deal. What I can’t decide on is the length. Will it be just a cheaper one or two year option that takes him to unrestricted free agency? Or do they go five to seven years?
Buchnevich was earning $3.25 million and will seek anywhere from $5 to $6.5 million on his next deal depending on length. Maybe Drury opts to go under $5 million per year on a two-year deal. Or, does he go in the $5.5 range just to buy a year or two of UFA time from his top line right wing? This remains to be seen.
Buchnevich finished as the 7th highest scoring RW, and 35th highest scoring forward in the NHL in 2020-21. He had more points than the Leafs’ William Nylander who earns $6.96 million who signed in 2018. That was pre flat cap so let’s look at the Jackets’ Oliver Bjorkstand (44 points) who signed in January of 2021 for $5.4 million. He and Buchnevich have a similar amount of points which is why I believe a fair number for Buchnevich is around $5 to 5.5 million per for the next three to five seasons.
Flyers are looking to move out a big salary. Read more here.