Restricted free-agent forward Pavel Buchnevich, who the Blues traded for last week, has signed a four-year contract with St. Louis. The deal is worth $23.2 million, with an AAV of $5.8 million.
Pavel Buchnevich, who was acquired Friday, has agreed to terms on a four-year contract. #stlblues
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) July 27, 2021
St. Louis Blues Sign RFA Winger Pavel Buchnevich
The Russian forward signs with the Blues less than a week after the team acquired him. Buchnevich was swapped for defenceman Sammy Blais and a draf pick in a deal with the New York Rangers on July 23. He will now begin a new chapter in his career after leaving the team that drafted him in 75th overall in 2013.
Buchnevich has shown improvements in every NHL season he has played so far. The Rangers took their time in developing the forward, not bringing him to North America until 2016. Once he made the jump, Buchnevich has found himself consistently in an NHL lineup. Over five seasons, the 25-year-old has scored 79 goals and 115 assists for 194 points over 301 games. He also sports a career Corsi rating of 53.6%. 2020-21 was the only season where Buchnevich had a rating lower than 50%, but the Rangers also utilized him in a more defensive role increasing his defensive zone starts. Despite that, he scored 20 goals and 28 assists for a career-high 48 points in 54 games.
What this means for the St. Louis Blues
This will be one of many signings Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong makes in the days to come. In fact, St. Louis extended qualifying offers to six of their restricted free agents on Monday. That list includes Buchnevich, Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Ivan Barbashev, Zach Sanford and Dakota Joshua.
It’s a matter of filling out the Blues forward lineup this offseason, with eight defencemen already under contract for next season. Longtime Blue Jaden Schwartz has already left in free agency, signing with the Seattle Kraken. Not to mention Vladimir Tarasenko requesting a trade. Fellow forwards Tyler Bozak and Mike Hoffman are also UFAs in need of new deals. Those two players could be the difference between a young, inexperienced forward group and one with more veteran stability.
It’s a different-looking team than the one that won the Stanley Cup in 2019. But the core of Ryan O’Reilly, Brayden Schenn, Colton Parayko, David Perron, and Jordan Binnington has remained consistent. Buchnevich will likely be given a second or third-line forward role with the opportunity to kill penalties. His trajectory is going in the right direction so he could easily have a career year. It will still be a tough offseason for St. Louis, and potentially, an even tougher season ahead. But this was also a team that won the Stanley Cup after being dead last in the league – anything is possible.
Main Photo: PITTSBURGH, PA – MARCH 09: New York Rangers Right Wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) handles the puck during the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the New York Rangers on March 9, 2021, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)