If you were wondering when Doug Armstrong was going to make a move, wonder no further.
Pavel Buchnevich of the New York Rangers is now a member of the St. Louis Blues. The Russian winger hit career highs last season with 48 points in 56 games. According to Andy Strickland, contract talks have already begun with Buchnevich and the Blues. As an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, Buchnevich will look for a big payday with his new hockey club. In exchange for Buchnevich, the Blues traded a 2022 2nd round pick and Samuel Blais.
Get to know Pavel Buchnevich
Buchnevich was initially drafted by the New York Rangers in the third round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, he’s had a meteoric rise through their roster, playing first-line duties with Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin. In 301 career games, he’s scored 195 points. Last season’s scoring pace suggests Buchnevich is capable of more than his career average of 40-45 points. He’s been compared to Phil Kessel since the early 2010s. It’s unlikely he’ll reach Kessel-levels of scoring, but even a close comparison should warrant some attention.
A closer look at the trade
This was a spectacular win on Armstrong’s part. In the wake of his questionable decision to expose both Vladimir Tarasenko and Vince Dunn, this trade is likely seen as a sigh of relief by many. Buchnevich is a highly valued asset. His even-strength offensive contributions make him an asset for the Blues, who already excel at 5v5 scoring.
Blais, while a solid depth player, is just a year younger than Buchnevich and hasn’t panned out nearly as well. He will likely have a good amount of opportunity on the team’s bottom-six, where he’ll join newcomer Barclay Goodrow and others. With the Blues in win-now mode, this seems like the perfect trade to replace the production left from Tarasenko’s inevitable departure.