The Rangers apparently will not be getting one rumored shot in the arm any time soon. There had been international speculation that forward Pavel Buchnevich, 20, who has played well in Russia’s KHL, would have his contract terminated with his club on Dec. 25, making him eligible to sign with the team that chose him in the third round two years ago. But Buchnevich was traded Sunday by Severstal to SKA-St. Petersburg, a contending club coached by former Ranger Sergei Zubov, a key member of the 1994 Stanley Cup team.
So Buchnevich seems almost certain to finish the season in Russia. Alexei Koznev, his former team’s general manager, said on the Severstal website, “It isn’t a secret that Pavel will go to the NHL soon.”
Buchnevich is 12-17-29 in 40 games this season. He was 13-17-30 last season in 48 games for Severstal.
Kevin Klein (strained oblique) was not ready to return Sunday night and might be available Tuesday. Dan Girardi (right knee) did off-ice conditioning and is getting better, the Rangers announced. Capitals coach Barry Trotz said the absence of two defensemen explained the Rangers’ recent struggle. “They’ve got a deep group of forwards but I think the key to them is still their defense. They’re very mobile, they are part of the attack. When they miss a couple pieces, it affects their game a little bit,” he said . . . Antti Raanta (head injury) did not take part in the morning skate or dress for the game . . . Entering Sunday night, despite their slide, the Rangers were 19-11-4, exactly the same as they were after 34 games last season.