Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Buchnevich signs four-year contract with Blues

Days after being acquired from the New York Rangers, 
forward inks $23.2 million contract that carries a $5.8 million AAV

ST. LOUIS -- Three days after acquiring the potential restricted free agent forward, the Blues signed Pavel Buchnevich to a four-year contract worth $23.2 million, or $5.8 million in average annual value.
Pavel Buchnevich

The Blues acquired Buchnevich, 26, on Friday from the the New York Rangers for forward Sammy Blais and a 2022 second-round pick.

Both Blues general manager Doug Armstrong and Buchnevich agent Todd Doamind said on Friday the hope was to work out a long-term contract for a player who had arbitration rights heading into the off-season.

"That's how you always enter it," Diamond, who also represents Blues goalie Ville Husso, said Friday. "In a negotiation, you always hope it's going to be smooth and easy, especially with this off-season, everything being so compact. I think Doug and I have enough years between us to kind of understand kind of where Pavel should fit and ultimately it doesn't take too long and we can get things going."

What the Blues did was buy out three years of unrestricted free agency and will be getting Buchnevich, who had 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists) in 54 games last season, during his prime seasons.

"I think 25, 26 is really at a very good age and when you're moving players, and we've done that in the past, in that age, you're a little apprehensive because you know they're just coming into their own and when you gain players from other organizations, you hope that there's still another level to go to," Armstrong said Friday. "... I've worked with Todd Diamond on a number of contracts in the past. I enjoy working with Todd. He's a straight shooter. We've been able to do some deals in the past, and we hope to. That's the goal going in is to see if we can get something done now or in the future on a long-term deal. At 26 years old, he's a player that is at a very good age."

Buchnevich will wear No. 89, becoming the first Blue in history to don that number, is expected to play in the top six for them moving forward.

"He's a combination of a lot of things," Diamond said of Buchnevich. "He's got a really good hockey mind, really good vision. He can see the play a few steps ahead, pinpoint passer, a very good shot. He battles, he battles for his teammates. I think he's got five or six fighting majors since he came to the NHL, which is a lot for a player from Russia. He believes in standing up for his teammates. He doesn't like his teammates to be pushed around. And for those reasons, I think it's a pretty solid fit hockey-wise."

The Blues feel so, too, and with free agency set to begin on Wednesday, there's a sense this team moving forward will have a drastically different makeup.

Vladimir Tarasenko, who requested a trade, could be dealt, and the Blues have multiple players (Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Bozak and Mike Hoffman) who can become UFA's.

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