Trading Buchnevich at the deadline is a mistake the Rangers won’t make

Pavel Buchnevich is 24 years old. He is a skilled winger who scored 21 goals in just 64 games last season in his 3rd year in the NHL. Buch is a playmaker with excellent vision and a hard shot he should use more. From a cap hit perspective, he has a reasonable 3.25M contract and will be an RFA after 2021. Yet there’s talk that the Rangers will weigh trading him at the deadline? Sorry, this doesn’t make sense.

Where is this coming from

When it comes to the Blueshirts and the upcoming trade deadline, names like Chris Kreider, Alexander Georgiev, Lias Andersson, and Jesper Fast top the list. Matter of fact Henrik Lundqvist has been more widely discussed than Pavel Buchnevich and he has a full no move clause and expressed no desire to waive it. The only legitimate reporter/news outlet mentioning him is Larry Brooks and the NYPOST.

This continued early this morning with Brooks’ latest “trade Buchnevich” piece, to which he’s written at least one other. So what is Larry’s rationale behind this? According to Brooks it’s about getting a more North/South player on Quinn’s Rangers.

It is not as if the Russian winger poses a cap problem, working as he is on the first half of a two-year deal worth $3.25 million per. It is not as if Buchnevich would yield the kind of bounty in return that management might be able to elicit in return for Kreider.

It is that the Rangers might want to engineer a horses-for-courses kind of trade, exchanging Buchnevich’s skill game for a winger with a more north-south, hard-hat mentality. Then again, with the talent like No. 89 possesses at an affordable price, that might be one for general manager Jeff Gorton to keep in his pocket.

Larry Brooks
Buchnevich and Panarin (AP)

Why The Rangers Won’t Do It

So let me get this straight, he poses no cap issues and is on pace for 45 points which would be a career high (he scored 43 in 2018). In essence, the Rangers have a young cost controlled talented winger, who continues to show improvement, and Brooks thinks the Rangers might want to trade him.

Let’s dive further here and look at what the Ranger have on the right side today. Aside from Buchnevich they have Kaapo Kakko who is destined to be the team‘s first line RW, Jesper Fast who may be traded, and Brendan Smith a defenseman. This doesn’t scream “trade Buchnevich” to me. Actually it screams the exact opposite.

Maybe Next Year

The future of the right side in New York will have Vitali Kravtsov in it next year. After seeing how long it has taken both Buchnevich and Kakko to acclimate to the NHL we can’t expect Kravtsov to go gang busters in his first full year. The Rangers biggest issue is finding a natural 4th line RW if they move Fast, because Smith shouldn’t be there.

If the Rangers decide to move Buchnevich, and I don’t believe they will, it would be at the 2021 trade deadline as an RFA. The Rangers can’t expect a haul for a young player either just because he has talent since he’s never really scored more than 21 goals and 43 points. And if he breaks out next season, why would they trade him? It just doesn’t add up. Trading Buchnevich would be a mistake and one the Rangers are highly unlikely to make.