With the Rangers needing to clear up some cap space following their acquisition of winger Artemi Panarin earlier this month, defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Brendan Smith have come up as speculative candidates to be bought out during the second buyout window. However, as Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post notes, they are looking at the trade market as well and have made wingers Vladislav Namestnikov and Pavel Buchnevich available.
Namestnikov struggled in his first full season in New York and came up well short of the 48 points he produced with the Lightning and Rangers in 2018-19. He had just 11 goals on the season, not the type of production that the Rangers were expecting when they signed him to a two-year, $8 million contract last summer. However, with Namestnikov on an expiring deal, there should be teams with some interest that believe a change of scenery could help him get back to his Tampa Bay levels.
Buchnevich’s presence here is a little more interesting. The restricted free agent had a career-best 21 goals last season and has emerged as a capable middle-six winger for New York. While he is going to salary arbitration, it seems unlikely that he’d be able to command the contract that Namestnikov has. Since Buchnevich still has three years of team control remaining, GM Jeff Gorton should be able to command a strong return if the Rangers do indeed move him.
Cyrgalis also mentions Chris Kreider as a potential trade possibility although for a different reason entirely. If Kreider and the Rangers can agree on a contract extension, then he clearly wouldn’t be made available. However, if they wind up still being far apart on a new deal, then it’s certainly possible that he could find himself on the move.
As things stand, the Rangers have a little more than $7 million in cap space, per CapFriendly. However, defenseman Jacob Trouba will basically take up all of that with Buchnevich, Anthony Deangelo and Brendan Lemieux still needing new contracts as well. Their second buyout window won’t open up until Trouba and Buchnevich both sign. If Buchnevich was to go to his hearing on July 29th, his reward wouldn’t come until the end of the month, which would give Gorton about two and a half weeks to deal with his cap crunch. That makes the Rangers a team to watch for in the coming weeks.
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