Pavel Buchnevich enjoyed a career-best performance this season, tallying 48 points in just 54 games for the New York Rangers. Whether the 26-year-old right winger returns with the Blueshirts, however, is another matter.
The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli added Buchnevich to his expanded list of off-season trade targets at No. 8 overall. Sources told him new Rangers general manager Chris Drury has “engaged in conversations” about possibly moving the winger. The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello reported it’s uncertain if Drury is shopping him or if other clubs are calling about him.
Buchnevich’s status as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights is fuelling the chatter. Seravalli pointed out his production this season was the equivalent of a 30-goal, 72-point run over 82 games. If he goes to arbitration, he’ll get over the $4.54-million walkaway rate on a one-year deal that takes him up to unrestricted free agent status next summer.
Carpiniello believes trading Buchnevich makes sense for the Rangers. While they have over $22 million in projected cap space, he feels Drury must be careful on his long-term investments. Young players such as Adam Fox, Igor Shesterkin, and Kaapo Kakko will be due for raises over the next two seasons while Mika Zibanejad is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer.
Putting Buchnevich on the block now while his trade value is high should fetch a solid return for the Rangers. He could be part of a package to acquire Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. They could swap him for St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko but that could be unlikely given the 29-year-old Tarasenko’s age and $7.5-million annual cap hit through 2022-23.