Pavel Buchnevich

Nash plans to return to Rangers next season

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Rick Nash is under contract through 2018, and says he wants to stay in New York.

But questions surrounding his future don’t seem to be going away.

With many predicting significant changes coming to the Rangers following their playoff exit to Ottawa, Nash confirmed his desire to stay in the Big Apple during Thursday’s end-of-year media availability.

“I plan on being here, I plan on being a Ranger,” Nash said, per WFAN 660. “As a player, you can’t control that. You’ve got to leave that up to management.

“I love being a Ranger.”

More: Changes needed for Rangers, but which ones to choose?

The 32-year-old is heading into the last of a monster eight-year, $62.4 million deal with a $7.8 million average annual cap hit. He has a modified no-trade clause — Nash can submit a 12-team trade list — and the Post has already floated him as a potential trade deadline rental for next season.

But one wonders if Nash will see the writing on the wall. It certainly sounds like he has, to some degree.

He, like many other Rangers, lamented how the current group blew a good opportunity, losing to a seemingly beatable Ottawa team. And this was the latest in a series of missed chances. New York has been to the playoffs every year in the Nash era and had some good success — one Cup Final appearance, three Eastern Conference finals — but never won it all.

Last year it was a first-round exit and this year, a second. The reality of the window closing is setting in.

“For me, it’s disappointing when you have a team that’s this good and an opportunity like we did,” Nash said on Tuesday, per the Post. “You only get so many cracks at this.”

Nash also surely knows that GM Jeff Gorton will probably continue to make his roster younger, and faster. This started last summer with the Derick Brassard-for-Mika Zibanejad trade, the acquisition of Jimmy Vesey and the growth of roles for Brady Skjei and Pavel Buchnevich.

If Gorton wants to continue down that path, some longtime Rangers could be in play.

Glass could replace Buchnevich for Rangers

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Alain Vigneault wouldn’t say for sure, but don’t be surprised if Tanner Glass replaces Pavel Buchnevich in the Rangers’ lineup tonight in New York.

The first clue was Buchnevich’s ice time Saturday in Ottawa — just 5:46 in a game that went to double overtime. Buchnevich, the 22-year-old rookie winger, didn’t play at all in sudden death. The game ended with Jean-Gabriel Pageau‘s fourth goal of the contest, giving the Senators a 6-5 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series.

The second clue came at this morning’s “extras skate.” Tanner Glass left it early, while Buchnevich stayed on.

Glass hasn’t played since Game 3 of the Rangers’ first-round series against Montreal. He was replaced by Buchnevich for the final three games (all New York wins), and he remained out of the lineup for the first two games in Ottawa (both losses).

If Glass plays tonight, his coach will know what to expect from the physical veteran.

“When Tanner played, there was no surprise to his game and what he brings to our lineup,” said Vigneault. “If he plays, he plays a certain way.”

As for Buchnevich’s ice time on Saturday, Vigneault said that had more to do with the other Rangers players than anything else.

“In the last game in Ottawa, I felt we had nine, 10 guys that I thought were playing real well,” he said. “I gave them the minutes and I thought they had some good looks and played a real strong game. Just ended up on the wrong side of the win column.”

Buchnevich wasn’t the only Rangers forward to get benched in overtime. Fourth-line center Oscar Lindberg didn’t see the ice either.

Rangers sign KHL d-man Bereglazov

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New York added some defensive depth on Friday, agreeing to terms with Russian blueliner Alexei Bereglazov.

Bereglazov, 23, has spent the last few seasons with KHL club Metallurg Magnitogorsk, including a ’16-17 campaign in which he scored 19 points in 60 games. He led all d-men aged 24 or younger in assists, with 18.

Despite being passed over at the draft, Bereglazov had a good junior career, highlighted by capturing bronze for Russia at the 2014 World Juniors. He finished with two points in seven games in the tourney, playing alongside the likes of Andrei Vasilevskiy, Nikita Zadorov, Mikhail Grigorenko, Ivan Barbashev and his new Rangers teammate, Pavel Buchnevich.

It’ll be interesting to see where he fits in New York next season. The club has seven blueliners under contract — Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein, Nick Holden, Brady Skjei and Steve Kampfer — with Brendan Smith a pending UFA, and Adam Clendening a pending RFA.

 

Will Buchnevich get his chance tonight?

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Head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn’t commit to giving Pavel Buchnevich his playoff debut, but it does seem likely that the 22-year-old forward will draw into the Rangers’ lineup tonight against Montreal.

Buchnevich practiced with the power play yesterday. New York is 0-for-10 with the man advantage in the series — just one of the reasons the Rangers trail the Canadiens, 2-1.

“Our power play has had quite a few areas where it hasn’t executed so far,” Vigneault said this morning. “When we finished off the season our power play was giving us momentum, and giving us timely goals. I’m very confident that tonight we’re going to turn it around. Pavel there, or Pavel not there, we’ve looked at a couple of areas. We’ve gotta execute, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

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Buchnevich was not a particularly big producer on the power play during the regular season, scoring once with two assists in 76:52 of PP ice time. But he’s got the skill and shot to make a difference, assuming he gets the chance.

If Buchnevich does play tonight, it may be on a line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. Those three practiced together yesterday, with Tanner Glass taking turns with Buchnevich.

Related: Vigneault vows a better Rangers effort in Game 4

Rangers to sit McDonagh, Nash, Zuccarello and Fast against Caps

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The Rangers have little to play for down the stretch — they’ve clinched the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and know they’re playing Montreal in Round 1 — so head coach Alain Vigneault has decided to rest some veterans.

Starting tomorrow.

On Tuesday, Vigneault announced that captain Ryan McDonagh and forwards Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Jesper Fast would all sit out Wednesday’s game against the Capitals.

“They’ve all been playing through certain bumps and bruises,” Vigneault explained, per the club website. “So we can at this time give them a couple days here but I’m not exactly sure how things are going to unfold here.”

Vigneault went on to say none of the injuries were significant, and all four will play when the Rangers open up the posteason next week.

That said, it does create some confusion for tomorrow. Here’s what the makeshift lines will look like:

Pavel Buchnevich into Zuccarello’s spot with Derek Stepan and Chris Kreider.

Brandon Pirri will skate with Mika Zibanejad and Jimmy Vesey.

The Kevin Hayes unit with J.T. Miller and Michael Grabner was reunited, while Oscar Lindberg will skate between Matt Puempel and Tanner Glass.

New York didn’t unveil what the defensive pairings will be without McDonagh in the mix.

This will be Zuccarello’s first missed game of the year, as he was one of just four Rangers to play in all 79 contests (Miller, Stepan and d-man Nick Holden are the others).

McDonagh, who leads all Rangers by averaging 24:24 TOI per night, has appeared in 76 games, having missed a few recently with an undisclosed ailment.