Bure, who turns 31 on March 31, was acquired by the Rangers from the Florida Panthers for defencemen Filip Novak and Igor Ulanov, a first-round pick and switch of second-rounders in 2002 plus a fourth-rounder in 2003.
"It's been a real roller-coaster of whether they were going to do it or not do it," Rangers general manager Glen Sather said late Monday. "I think it was tough trade for them to do.
"They called me (Sunday) and said they weren't doing the deal and then they called back this morning and wanted to see if they could get it back on the drawing board again. It happened."
Pavel Bure was peddled by the Panthers to the Rangers.(CP Photo)
The Rangers, currently two points back of the Montreal Canadiens and the final playoff berth in the NHL Eastern Conference, were considered one of the few deep-pocketed clubs able to shoulder the Russian Rocket's hefty contract.
Bure is slated to earn $10 million US the next two seasons and $11 million US in 2004-05.
"We need someone to push us into the playoffs and I think he's one of the top five players in the NHL," Sather said. "We've always said we're going to make the playoffs.
"We're back right now, but it doesn't take very long to get up right up into the middle of this pack."
Bure has at least 51 goals in each of the five NHL seasons he has played 70-plus games.
The stylish sniper also has 35 goals and 35 assists for 70 points in 64 career playoff games.
"It should do an awful lot for us in every position," Sather said. "We're more mobile, we're quicker, we've got better goal-scoring.
"He's a constant threat. He's someone who can score every time he gets the puck."
True enough but, by his own spectacular standards, Bure is having a sub-par season with 22 goals and 27 assists for 49 points in 55 games after winning the Maurice Richard Trophy the past two seasons with 59 and 58 goals, respectively.
The Moscow native accounted for an NHL modern-day record 29.5 per cent of Florida's goals last season, one in which he also led the Panthers with 33 assists, 92 points, 19 power play goals, five shorthanded goals, eight game-winning goals and a league-high 384 shots.
"Pavel is a wonderful talent," Panthers GM Chuck Fletcher said. "He entertained all of us.
But clearly Pavel by himself couldn't make us win."
"As we look at the future and how Pavel fits in, we felt we needed to make a change," added Panthers head coach Mike Keenan. "It's a difficult trade.
"The key was that, even with Pavel winning the Rocket Richard Trophy, the team still couldn't win enough games."
Bure has 406 goals and 323 assists for 729 points in 651 regular season games over 11 NHL seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and Panthers.
He was peddled to the Panthers along with Brad Ference, Bret Hedican and a third-rounder for Mike Brown, Dave Gagner, Ed Jovanovski, Kevin Weekes and a first-rounder in 1999.
"It got terribly frustrating for Pavel because the team kept sputtering and going in one direction and changing direction and going in another and changing directions again," said Mike Gillis, Bure's agent.
"Pavel is anxious to be here," Sather added. "I talked to him today.
"He's very excited about it. He said he'd do anything to help the team win and play anywhere we wanted him to play.
"This guy's a world-class player. He's going to make our team go."
Ulanov, 32, managed only six assists in 39 games for New York after signing as an unrestricted free agent last summer.
The native of Krasnokamsk, Russia, was a healthy scratch for 15 games and even demoted to the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack on March 2.
Ulanov was recalled by the Rangers on Wednesday, but did not dress in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
He has 18 goals and 111 assists for 129 points with 1,044 penalty minutes in 590 games over 11 NHL seasons with the Winnipeg Jets, Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Montreal Canadiens (twice), Edmonton Oilers (twice) and Rangers.
Novak, 18, has 12 goals and 46 assists for 58 points in 60 games with the WHL Regina Pats this season.
Drafted in the second round -- 64th overall -- by the Rangers in 2000, he has totalled 36 goals and 128 assists for 164 points in 171 games over three WHL seasons, all with the Pats.
Born in Budejovice, Novak represented the Czech Republic at the 2002 World Juniors.
"Trading draft picks isn't always as cheap as it seems and Novak's a good prospect," Sather said. "So I think both teams are happy with the deal."