The St. Louis Blues have signed recently acquired forward Pavel Buchnevich to a four-year deal worth $23.2 million. Buchnevich’s rights were obtained by the Blues on Friday in a trade that saw the New York Rangers receive forward Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round pick.
The 26-year-old left-winger spent the last five seasons with the Rangers where he scored 79 goals and 116 assists for 195 points in 301 games played. With the addition of Buchnevich, the Blues add another 20-goal scorer to a roster that saw only one forward hit that mark last season — Ryan O’Reilly.
Related: THW’s Free Agent Signing Tracker
In each season with the Rangers, Buchnevich got better every year. As a rookie, he posted a 0.49 point-per-game (PPG) pace, which he followed up with 0.58 PPG his sophomore campaign. During the 2020-21 season, Buchnevich scored at almost a point per game rate — 0.89 PPG — while seeing the most time on ice in his career with 18:44 per game.
Fit With the Blues
Buchnevich will likely slot in on the left side of the Blues top-two lines, depending on what else they do in free agency, although he is equally capable on his off-wing. With recent reports that Vladimir Tarasenko wants out of St. Louis, the Blues could soon be looking for another winger to play alongside Buchnevich. With the Rangers needing to make cap space for some of their younger players — and New York not being able to offer Buchnevich more than one year at the deal he wanted — the Blues obtained much-needed size and skill on the wing for a very little return.
The Russian native was originally selected in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Rangers with the 75th pick. A left-handed shot who can play both wings, Buchnevich excels on special teams as an elite penalty killer and support man on the power play. This signing will keep Buchnevich in St. Louis through the prime of his career, and he will be the first Blues player to wear the number 89.
Born and raised in Michigan, Kyle Knopp started playing hockey when he was 3 years old. Knopp has played, coached, or worked at every level of ice hockey — including three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and two seasons with the Detroit Red Wings where he was part of the Stanley Cup Championship team in 2008. He covers the Detroit Red Wings, hosts The Grind Line and THW Podcasts, and is the editor of THW’s Morning Skate newsletter. You can follow him on Twitter @THW_Knopp.