Jason Brough

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 5:  Pavel Buchnevich #19 of Team Russia tries to break away from Fredrik Gauthier #22 of Team Canada during the gold medal game in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship at the Air Canada Centre on January 5, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Team Canada defeated Team Russia 5-4 to win the gold medal. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Russian forward Pavel Buchnevich looking to make Rangers


GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Pavel Buchnevich is ready to play for the New York Rangers.

The 21-year-old Russian left wing believes it and so do the Rangers. It’s why he is attending the team’s prospects camp this week at their Westchester practice rink.

A year ago, it was a different story. Buchnevich wasn’t so sure. His body needed to mature for the grind of the NHL and so did his game.

After splitting the past season in the KHL at Severstal Cherepovets and SKA St. Petersburg, Buchnevich is a confident young man. He had 16 goals and 21 assists in 58 games, establishing KHL career-highs in games played, goals, assists, points, game-winning goals (three), power play goals (four), and average ice time (16:10).

Among KHL players 24-years-old or younger, Buchnevich ranked third in assists, ranked fourth in points, and tied for seventh in goals. The numbers were impressive enough to earn the 2013 third-round draft pick a three-year entry level contract.

“He is going to get every chance to show he does not belong,” Gordie Clark, the team’s director of player personnel, said this week before Buchnevich took the ice for an afternoon session.

Buchnevich looked smooth during the workout Tuesday. He skated easily, handled the skills drills well and wasn’t shy putting the puck on the net.

He has a lot to learn. He does not speak English. He relies on hand signals from his teammates and occasionally gets help from defenseman Sergei Zborivsky, a fellow Russian and third-round draft pick in 2015.

The hockey is hockey, though.

“If I weren’t sure, I wouldn’t come here,” Buchnevich said through interpreter Nickolai Bobrov, the Rangers’ director of European scouting.

Clark had wanted Buchnevich to attend the prospects camp last year but he stayed home.

“I felt the age was a bit different, even at 20 it’s still considered to be young,” Buchnevich said. “I felt I needed the time to physically get prepared in Cherepovets and SKA St. Pete’s and get more experience and get older.”

Getting used to the more physical NHL game and the smaller rinks will be an adjustments.

“Obviously a physical game, there is less space and less time to make decisions, less space and less time to make plays,” said Buchnevich, who played for former Devils Ilya Kovalchuk in SKA St. Petersburg. The two exchanged text messages after he signed with the Rangers.

Playing in smaller rinks should increase his scoring chances.

Buchnevich seemed to laugh when asked whether he was a scorer or a two-way player.

“I think I am not quite a goal scorer,” he said. “I may be, but I’m a thinking player, a cerebral player, a playmaker.”

The next five months will give an indication. Buchnevich plans to stay in the United States for most of the summer and return from for 10 days before getting ready for training camp.

Buchnevich represented Russia at the IIHF World Junior Championship in 2014 and 2015, scoring three goals and 10 assists in 14 contests.

Some big dominoes fell today — so what comes next?


When the NHL draft wrapped up in Buffalo, a lot of people were surprised at how few trades went down. For all the rumors that were out there, nothing too major actually happened over the weekend.

Well, a few major things happened today. Taylor Hall was traded to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. P.K. Subban was traded to Nashville for Shea Weber. And, oh yeah, Steven Stamkos re-signed in Tampa Bay.

All three of those deals are going to have a trickle-down effect, so let’s explore that further.

The market for defensemen

Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli might not be done fixing his defense yet; he could still sign a free agent like Jason Demers. But the pressure to address his blue line has been lessened with the acquisition of Larsson.

Keep an eye now on the the Boston Bruins. They’d love to add a right shot d-man that can move the puck, which is why you hear names like Kevin Shattenkirk and Jacob Trouba linked to them. Of the two, Shattenkirk is the most likely to be traded somewhere. Trouba, a restricted free agent with the Jets, is more of a long shot to be dealt, but until he signs somewhere, the speculation will continue. Dougie Hamilton was in a similar situation last year, and he was traded.

Cam Fowler is another defenseman that expects to be traded. He’s a left shot, but he can move the puck and teams are always looking for that.

UFA d-men that could potentially fill a top-four role include Demers, Brian Campbell, and Dan Hamhuis. It’s not a particularly long list; hence, the price Chiarelli convinced himself to pay for young Larsson. Time will tell if it was worth it.

The market for centers

Stamkos was by far the biggest fish that could’ve hit the market, and his decision to re-sign with the Lightning was probably most frustrating for a team like Detroit. The Red Wings don’t have Pavel Datsyuk anymore, and that’s a massive hole to fill. A Plan B could be someone like Frans Nielsen, but he’s 32 now. He’s not going to replace what Datsyuk used to bring, or what Stamkos could have.

Another free-agent center is Eric Staal. He still believes he can play in the top six, though others aren’t so convinced.

The market for goal-scorers

Stamkos also affects this, since scoring goals is what he does best. The Vancouver Canucks were interested in him for that reason, though nobody gave them much of a chance to actually sign him.

Now the teams in need of offense will have to focus on UFAs like Milan Lucic, Kyle Okposo, Mikkel BoedkerLoui Eriksson, David Backes, Troy Brouwer, and Thomas Vanek. Those guys have all enjoyed success in the NHL, but age and mileage are always a consideration. (Vanek is a good example why.) Shane Doan is another forward who could be available, but he’s almost 40.

Another blockbuster! Habs trade Subban to Preds for Weber


It’s blockbuster trade day in the NHL!

Moments after we learned the Edmonton Oilers had traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson came news that the Montreal Canadiens had traded P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for their captain, Shea Weber.

Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos was the first to report the Subban-for-Weber trade.

The deal ends weeks of speculation about Subban. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin told reporters over the weekend that he wasn’t shopping the 27-year-old defenseman, but where there was smoke there was fire, apparently.

“P.K. Subban is an elite offensive defenseman with tremendous skill and contagious energy that makes the Nashville Predators a better team now and into the future,” Preds GM David Poile said in a release. “Superstar defensemen of his caliber are a rare commodity, and we are thrilled to add him to the organization.”

Subban is signed through 2020-21 for a cap hit of $9 million.

Weber, 30, leaves Nashville after spending his entire NHL career there. He signed a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet with the Flyers in the summer of 2012. The contract was heavily front-loaded, but the Predators matched it anyway.

Weber is Canadiens property now. His contract runs through 2025-26, with a cap hit of $7.86 million.

“We completed today an important transaction which I am convinced will make the Canadiens a better team,” said Habs GM Marc Bergevin. “It was also one of the most difficult decisions I had to make as general manager of the Montreal Canadiens. In Shea Weber, we get a top rated NHL defenseman with tremendous leadership, and a player who will improve our defensive group as well as our powerplay for many years to come. Shea Weber led all NHL defensemen last season with 14 powerplay goals. He is a complete rearguard with impressive size and a powerful shot. P.K. Subban is a special and very talented player. He provided the Canadiens organization with strong performances on the ice and generous commitment in the community. I wish him the best of luck with the Predators.”

Online sportsbook: Lightning are favorites to sign Stamkos

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 26:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in action against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 26, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

On Friday, Steven Stamkos can sign with any NHL team he chooses. But according to the oddsmakers at one online sportsbook, the team he’s most likely to choose is the one he’s already on.

Bovada has the Tampa Bay Lightning at +120 to re-sign Stamkos, which means a $100 wager would potentially return $120.

After the Bolts, it’s the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, both at +275. The Buffalo Sabres are next at +800, followed by the Montreal Canadiens at +1200 and the Vancouver Canucks at +2200.

It makes sense that the Lightning are the favorites to sign Stamkos. They want to keep him, and he wants to stay. It’s just a matter of finding a deal that works for both sides. So far, that deal hasn’t presented itself, but there’s still time.

The Lightning may also give Stamkos the best chance to win a Stanley Cup in the next year or two. Perhaps only the Canadiens could argue otherwise, as long as Carey Price stays healthy. The Red Wings could try to argue otherwise, but with that blue line of theirs, it would be tough. The Maple Leafs and Sabres would both have to sell Stamkos on what they’ve been building, and where they could go with him. The Canucks, meanwhile… well, they’re long shots for a reason.

At the end of the day, for any team that’s not the Lightning, the best way to convince Stamkos to leave Tampa Bay might be with a huge offer, the kind Steve Yzerman can’t possibly make and Stamkos would find very hard to refuse.

We’ll find out soon where he chooses. In the meantime, place your bets!

Related: Andreychuk confident that Stamkos will re-sign in Tampa Bay

Berube named head coach of AHL Wolves

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 29:  Head coach Craig Berube of the Philadelphia Flyers watches from the bench during the second period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on December 29, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Craig Berube is going back behind a bench. He’s been named head coach of the St. Louis Blues’ AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves.

Berube was most recently a bench boss in Philadelphia. He was fired by the Flyers at the end of the 2014-15 season, eventually replaced by Dave Hakstol.

This won’t be Berube’s first time as head coach in the AHL. He served as the Phantoms’ head coach in 2007-08, going 46-27-7 before losing in the second round of the playoffs.

Berube, 50, was rumored to be a candidate for a number of assistant positions in the NHL, but this job — i.e., being in charge of a team — may be a better route to getting back to the NHL as a head coach.

It worked for Mike Sullivan, after all.

Related: Berube surprised by firing: ‘I expected to come back and coach again’