Some less-than-ideal news just hit the wire. The New York Rangers have placed Pavel Buchnevich, Adam Fox, and Phil Di Giusseppe on the COVID list. In related news, the Blueshirts have recalled Finnish defenseman Tarmo Reunanen from the Hartford Wolf Pack.
So, yeah, there’s a lot to unpack here.
Buchnevich, Fox and DiGiuseppe on the Covid list.— Colin Stephenson (@ColinSNewsday) March 15, 2021
Rangers have called up D Tarmo Reunanen.— Colin Stephenson (@ColinSNewsday) March 15, 2021
Obviously, the news about Fox, Buchnevich, and PDG is far from good but the right thing to do here is to wait and see what happens. This is unfortunately a process that the Rangers have become familiar with — on two separate occasions with Kaapo Kakko alone — and they aren’t alone. This is something that has been an ongoing story throughout the season in every division. Hopefully, it will be a short stay for all three Rangers on the COVID list but this is a process. These things take time and this is what happens when you play hockey during a pandemic.
Bringing Reunanen up from Hartford will help alleviate the loss of Fox but it's important to set realistic expectations here. Fox is, by far, the best defenseman on this team. Truth be told, he’s the best defenseman to play for the Rangers since Ryan McDonagh. Buchenvich is also leading the team in scoring and has been one of its best skaters this year. So this is a pretty big blow to a team that just had an uplifting 4-0 victory at the expense of the Boston Bruins.
Reunanen, 23, has had a promising start to his AHL career. He’s been out of the box score in his last three games but had five points in his first five games with the Wolf Pack, two of which were goals. The Finn is a left-handed defender with a 6-foot-0 frame and over 150 games of experience playing in Finland’s Liiga.
The Rangers play the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET. We should expect Reunanen to make his NHL debut and for Julien Gauthier and Brett Howden to return to the lineup.