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Jeff Gordon: Buchnevich will offer much value, one way or another, as the Blues retool

Jeff Gordon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Hockey

ST. LOUIS — Acquiring Pavel Buchnevich was one of the strongest additions Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has made during his tenure here.

Buchenvich is an excellent all-around winger. He plays on the top forward line with Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou at even strength and on the top power-play unit.

He demands much of himself, which has caused him to press at times this season. But overall, he has scored at a point-per-game pace since joining the Blues.

He also kills penalties. He checks opponents with an edge. He adds to the team's chemistry with his unique personality.

It’s no wonder that contending teams would be interested in acquiring him. His profile in the league has risen during the past few seasons.

The Blues paid a modest price to the New York Rangers to get Buchnevich — a second-round pick in 2022, plus Sammy Blais, who was traded back to the Blues in the Vladimir Tarasenko deal last season — and signed him for a team-friendly average value of $5.8 million for four years.

 

That trade was an absolute steal. The Rangers had salary cap concerns, true, but offloading Buchnevich was an idiotic move.

Buchnevich proved he was more than ready to handle a primary role when he got to St. Louis. He quickly became a cornerstone player here.

And yet, Armstrong will at least have to listen if contending teams make strong trade offers for him.

Such is the state of the franchise these days. The Blues are operating on two tracks at once, trying to remain in the playoff race in the near term while also retooling for the long term.

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