The New York Rangers continued their offseason makeover on Friday by trading fourth-leading scorer Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues for forward Sammy Blais and a second-round pick in 2022.
Buchnevich had 20 goals and 28 assists for 48 points in 54 games last season. The 26-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.
Blais, 25, has 35 points in 119 regular season NHL games and was on St. Louis’ 2019 Stanley Cup winning team. He signed for $ 1.5 million next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Buchnevich’s swap came hours after Rangers put defender Tony DeAngelo on an unconditional waiver in a bid to buy out the final year of his contract and a day after signing striker Barclay Goodrow for a 21 contract. , $ 6 million.
Essentially, they used the money saved by ditching the player they had already paid for to go off on a back-to-back Cup champion who they hope will improve the team’s chemistry on and off the ice.
New chairman and chief executive Chris Drury is putting his mark on a team that has been criticized for not being difficult to face.
Former general manager Jeff Gorton said in February that DeAngelo played his last game for Rangers. DeAngelo was involved in an undisclosed incident, was not claimed by the other 31 NHL teams on regular waivers, and was assigned to the taxi team, but was asked not to report it.
DeAngelo was signed for $ 4.8 million, and the buyout saves the team just over $ 4.4 million next season with a salary cap of less than $ 900,000 in 2022-23. . Goodrow has $ 3.6 million a year against the cap.
DeAngelo can sign anywhere as an unrestricted free agent when the market opens on Wednesday. Although Rangers weren’t able to give him up last season, the 25-year-old could be interested in a short-term contract: he’s only a year away from racking up 53 points in 68 games.
Led by 2020 MVP finalist Artemi Panarin up front and reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox in defense, New York has plenty of players capable of producing. What the Rangers needed was a little tenacity.
Enter Goodrow, who, along with Blake Coleman, was the “final piece” of coach’s Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup puzzle, according to coach Jon Cooper. Coleman, Goodrow and new Seattle Kraken center Yanni Gourde formed a third line that was a head-to-head nightmare on the way to back-to-back championships.
After the Rangers criticized the players failing to defend themselves immediately after a scrum with Washington’s Tom Wilson that injured Panarin and resulted in a $ 5,000 fine for brutalizing Buchnevich, the organization made a concerted effort to reinforce.
President John Davidson and Gorton were fired and Drury promoted to deputy general manager. Drury hired pragmatic coach Gerard Gallant and traded a 2022 seventh-round pick at Tampa Bay for the rights of Goodrow, which allowed the Rangers to sign him before free will.
Goodrow’s first game that matters with New York will deservedly be against Wilson and the Capitals. But the Rangers are counting on him to bring his cup-winning experience and leadership throughout the season and into the playoffs for years to come.
“I’m more of a ‘follow my lead’ (kind of) player,” Goodrow said. “Not the most vocal but I just like to show off and (hope my teammates) follow my actions.”
Follow AP Hockey writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno