Saturday, July 24, 2021

Pavel Buchnevich Autograph Card

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The New York Rangers made waves yesterday by trading 26-year-old Pavel Buchnevich to the St. Louis Blues for Samuel Blais and a second-round pick; I've read a lot of nonsense online about how the Rangers got fleeced in the deal, essentially giving up a first-liner for a bottom-six forward and a pick that will at best be a plugger - but that is simply not true. Blais often played on the Blues' top unit, making space for Ryan O'Reilly and David Perron to create plays, and was a heart-and-soul member of the 2019 Stanley Cup-winning team. Buchnevich, on the other hand, finally played up to his offensive potential, posting a career-high 48 points in just 56 games - two more than he had put up in 68 games in 2019-20 - just in time to cash in on a four-year deal worth $5.8M per season; he was arbitration-eligible and could have gone to free agency next summer.

That's deifnitely top-6 money, and he's definitely a top-6 talent, but some Blues fans may be asking too much of him to fill in for injury-depleted former star winger Vladimir Tarasenko - prime-level Tarasenko was elite, whereas Buchnevich's upside is a one- or two-time All-Star "at best" (it's still pretty freaking good on a team that won a Cup recently and has hardware winners).

Both teams will get what they want out of this trade,but chances are the Rangers have a better shot at feeling like they got more than expected, whereas the Blues may end up 115% underwhelmed compared to what they felt they were obtaining.

Here is Buchnevich on one of my favourite themed sets, the Signature Pucks sub-set from Upper Deck's 2018-19 Trilogy collection, wearing the Rangers' classic white (away) uniform and featuring a silver-sharpied autograph on a minuscule puck embedded in the card itself:
That level of penmanship is rare nowadays. This card once had a book value of roughly $15, it now oscillates between $40-50.

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