Rangers trade Buchnevich to the Blues for Blais and a draft pick

Pavel Buchnevich is a member of the St. Louis Blues

The New York Rangers have traded winger Pavel Buchnevich, a pending RFA, to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Sammy Blais and the Blues’ 2022 2nd round pick.

Blais, 25, is on the last year of a two-year deal that paid him an AAV of $1.5 million. He’ll be arbitration-eligible after next season. He was the 176th pick (6th round) of the 2016 Draft and is coming off a 2020-21 season where he scored 15 points in 36 games. Buchnevich, on the other hand, had 48 points in 54 games last season.

Obviously, the Blues are getting the best player in this trade. Blais fits the front office’s mission of being a team that is “harder” to play against — he takes the body and has a high motor — but his overall impact is completely overshadowed by the skill and production of Buchnevich. Simply put, one of these players is not like the other.

So, what’s deal here? The bottom line is that Blais will be much cheaper on the books than Buchnevich will be. But moving Buchnevich to avoid paying him feels a lot like squandering the type of player a team with playoff aspirations should not be doing. Maybe this is the first domino to fall in a series of moves for the Rangers that brings in another key piece for the top-six that could effectively replace Buchnevich. We won’t know until we know.

What we do know is that Buchnevich had a hell of a career in New York. He finishes his time in New York with 195 points in 301 games. Originally a third-round pick (75th overall) in the 2013 Draft, Buchnevich has established himself as a standout top-six winger over the past few years. He will not be easy to replace.

We’ll have further analysis on this deal and any and all other news from the day right here at Blueshirt Banter.