Well, Doug did it again! A few days after he made the comment, “I’m not as concerned over the next few days as other GMs will be” speaking of the draft. After those comments I had plenty of messages saying, “Doug is giving up this year” or “the Cup window has closed”. Then 48 hours later he pulls off the impossible by acquiring a young, controllable, top-6 winger that the Blues have desperately needed.
The newest Blue, Pavel Buchnevich was acquired on Friday for Sammy Blais and a 2nd round draft pick in next year’s draft. I’m sure some people are saying, who? Let me attempt to get you excited about this new winger for Craig Berube. He’s a 26 year-old, a natural power forward who goes to the dirty areas of the ice and has scored 71 total goals in the last 4 seasons. He also can play both LW or RW which is an area of need right now for the Blues, as a power forward and a LW. The biggest part of this trade which I’m a fan of is the fact that everyone in the Rangers organization loved this guy. Teammates were glaring about him, on the ice he sticks up for his teammates (google he and Brad Marcand…you’ll love it), and the Rangers coach talked about his smile. All of those things will fit well in the Blues locker room.
To acquire this player and only move on from a young winger who has a good future but could never stay healthy for the Blues is a steal for Doug, once again. He acquired a player who is approaching his prime and fills a major void that was noticeable last season for the Blues. It clears up what the offseason looks like for the Blues by not NEEDING to acquire Landeskog or Tkachuk. Would that still be nice? Of course! But what Doug did on Friday was acquire a player that matches the Blues system to a “T” and will allow Doug to search the bargain bin come Wednesday for another player who can play in the top-6 but also not handcuff the Blues with their flat cap.
The other part of this is the fact that Tarasenko wasn’t involved in the deal for Buchnevich. I think that is huge because this is still another piece that Doug Armstrong will get something to help in return. He’s already established he isn’t trading Vladdy for anything which means he will wait until a team gets desperate for a scoring winger and trade a piece that benefits the Blues, whether it be on D or in the top-6. To still hold that trade piece and acquire a top-6 winger is an impressive move by the Blues and the main reason why this move reopens that Cup window. Can get even wider pending more moves between now and Wednesday.
Also, props to Doug & new Scouting Director Tony Feltrin for a successful first draft with the Blues. Two prospects that I’m intrigued by are the first round selection (Zach Bolduc) & the 3rd round pick (Simon Robertsson). The depth is short in the prospect pool for the Blues with offense & these two pieces upgraded that area immediately. Bolduc, a center, has been compared to Sam Reinhart or Sean Monahan by Meghan Chayka and those are solid comps for a two-way forward. The prospect report speaks highly of his puck handling skills, ability to skate through danger and eliminate pressure from the opposite side. And Robertsson is a pure goal scorer who was ranked as a top 30 prospect so a little surprising he dropped this low. Scouts talk about his size and ability to push through defense. Two guys that make this draft successful and put all eyes back on the Blues offseason to see what other magic Doug can make.