Trouba and Buchnevich filed but don’t expect a hearing

Nikolai Zherdev Getty

Yesterday, both Jacob Trouba and Pavel Buchnevich filed for salary arbitration. The reasons their fellow Blueshirt RFA’s Tony DeAngelo and Brendan Lemieux didn’t is because they don’t have the rights to do so.

Standard Practice

Do not be alarmed Rangers fans, this is basically standard practice for unsigned RFA’s with arbitration eligible rights. In total 40 RFA’s filed across the league and a majority if not all of them will not go to an arbitration hearing. Matter of fact the last time a Ranger got that far was way back in 2009 with Nikolai Zherdev.

The Zherdev Incident

The Rangers acquired Nik Zherdev from the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2008. In his first season with the team he tied Scott Gomez for the scoring lead with 58 points. That summer the 24 year old rejected a qualifying offer of $3.25M and was looking for a new deal closer to $5M. Zherdev’s agent later said that Glen Sather refused to negotiate and he wasn’t kidding because after the hearing, Slats walked away from the arbitrator’s $3.9M award.

In hindsight, the way the Rangers were throwing around money in those years, it is hard to understand why they didn’t accept the award. Was Sather trying to send a message to other RFA’s that unless you were a UFA, he held all the power? Or was it that new coach John Tortorella didn’t like Zherdev’s playing style and didn’t see him as a fit? Could it have been both? Whatever the case, it is ancient history in hockey terms, and no Rangers RFA has seen a hearing yet.

Trouba, Buch and the 2nd buyout window

Buchnevich (USATSI)

Reports continue to surface that Jacob Trouba’s agent and Jeff Gorton are making progress on a new deal. The numbers are expected to land in the 7 years for $53-$57M with a full no trade clause. There was also little risk of anyone signing Trouba to an offer sheet based on the fact he only had a 1-2 team trade list before Winnipeg shipped him out.

Buchnevich is a more interesting case as he is coming off his ELC. The Rangers are likely to give him a bridge deal in the neighborhood of $3-$3.5M a year for 2 years. And much like almost every RFA in recent years, it will be settled before the hearing date (yet to be scheduled).

The big news to watch as a consequence of the filings means the Rangers will be able to leverage the second buy out window. Per the CBA, within 48 hours of settlement or award, a team can exercise a buy out. Which in this case and per several sources, will be Brendan Smith. That will give the Rangers almost $3.4M in additional cap space to sign all their RFA’s and Kaapo Kakko to his ELC.

That alone will not be enough to get it done, so also expect at least 1 or 2 trades in the next week or so. The top candidate to go is Vlad Namestnikov and his $4M cap hit. If the Rangers can’t find a taker, Chris Kreider and his nearly $5M cap hit will surely be moved.