The St. Louis Blues announced today the club has signed restricted free agent forward Pavel Buchnevich to a four-year deal for $23.2 million, with a cap hit of $5.8 million. The Russian winger was acquired by the Blues from the New York Rangers on Friday for forward Sammy Blais and a 2022 2nd round pick. Buchnevich will wear the #89 sweater.
Buchnevich is now signed with St. Louis through the 2024-2025 season and considering his age and production, this looks to be a good deal for the Blues. It was expected that Buchnevich could command around $6 million per season, Blues GM Doug Armstrong was able to get a deal done just below that mark at $5.8 million. The term on the deal is also team-friendly, as Buchnevich will be 31 when the deal expires, so the Blues were able to lock in the top-six forward for what should be his peak years without having to get into the “uncomfortable” years when production typically declines. The deal is backloaded, as Buchnevich will receive $4.5 million this season, followed by $5.5 million in 2022-23, $6.9 million in 2023-24, and $6.3 million in 2024-25. The commitment assures that Buchnevich will be playing a prominent role for the Blues for the foreseeable future.
Where Buchnevich fits in the lineup
While he has played almost exclusively on the right-wing in his NHL career, it is unclear whether Buchnevich will stay on the right side as the heir apparent to Vladimir Tarasenko as he looks to be dealt, or whether he will slide in on the left wing to fill the hole lost by the departing Jaden Schwartz. The deal leaves the Blues with roughly $13 million in cap space, including Vladimir Tarasenko’s $7.5 million salary-cap hit, as free agency is slated to open tomorrow. Armstrong’s moves in the next 24-48 hours should give us a better picture of where Buchnevich will fit in.
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