The Rangers have added another potentially potent weapon to their arsenal by inking highly-touted prospect Pavel Buchnevich to an entry-level contract.
But who is he and why should Blueshirts fans be excited about seeing him on Broadway next season?
- Born on April 17, 1995, Buchnevich is a 21-year-old left winger from Cherepovets, Russia. He’s listed at 6-foot-1 and 176 pounds.
- Buchnevich began his professional career during the 2011-12 season with Almaz Cherepovets of the MHL. In 45 games, Buchnevich totaled 44 points – 15 goals and 29 assists – and was a plus-15 during the regular season.
- The Russian playmaker split time with Almaz Cherepovets and the KHL’s Severstal Cherepovets during the 2012-13 campaign. Buchnevich recorded nearly a point-per-game with Almaz (23 points in 24 games).
- Buchnevich really caught the eye of international scouts during the 2013 IIHF World U18 Championships in Sochi, Russia. In a tournament that featured future NHL stars such as Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, Buchnevich finished with 11 points in seven games, second only to McDavid’s 14 for Canada. He also led all skaters with six assists during the tournament.
- The Rangers drafted Buchnevich in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft (75th overall). The pick originally belonged to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but New York obtained it as a part of the Rick Nash trade. “[Buchnevich] is playing in a men’s league as an 18-year-old, that’s a big deal to us,” Rangers Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark said to Blueshirts United at the time of the Draft.
- The 2013-14 season saw Buchnevich play mostly with the KHL’s Severstal Cherepovets. In 40 games, Buchnevich put up 18 points. He also was a part of the Bronze medal-winning Russian team at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships.
- Buchnevich stood out in the 2014-15 with Severstal. He totaled 30 points (13 goals and 17 assists) and is second only to the Washington Capitals’ Evgeny Kuznetsov for most points and assists in a season by a player younger than 20. The only other players to surpass Buchnevich’s goal total in a season when they were younger than 20 were Kuznetsov and St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko.
- Buchnevich was one of the driving forces on a Russian team that won silver at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Canada. He dished out six assists in seven games.
- Buchnevich split time between Severstal Cherepovets and KHL powerhouse SKA St. Petersburg during the 2015-16 season. Playing in a career-high 48 games, Buchnevich totaled 37 points (16 goals and 21 assists). He also played in 14 playoff games on an SKA St. Petersburg team that reached the Western Conference Finals of the Gagarin Cup.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
“Pavel has a great work ethic and is driven to become the first player from his hometown of Cherepovets, Russia to make it in the NHL.
“He’s been playing with men for a long time. He’s not a pure sniper, he’s more of a playmaker, but his skills and his passing are incredible.” – Gordie Clark on Buchnevich to the NY Post.
“Buchnevich has excellent speed with a very good set of hands. A very interesting prospect with an impressive ceiling, he is small but makes things happen with his speed and skills. Buchnevich can take needless penalties though at inopportune moments and needs to be more responsible defensively to be successful in North America. A very good playmaker with excellent vision, Buchnevich has the potential to be a first line player in the NHL.” — hockeysfuture.com
“Buchnevich is just the complete package. He plays a very similar style to Evgeni Malkin. He is a great skater for his size, handles the puck well, makes amazing passes, and has a tremendous wrist shot. He can deke past defenders, or he can just use his tree trunk legs to power past them. He’s very hard to knock off the puck. He’s improved his defensive game tremendously. He’s not going to plaster anyone through the boards, but he doesn’t shy away when things get chippy and will even instigate shenanigans after whistles or go after an opponent who does something unfavorable to one of Buchnevich’s teammates. The question is not if he will be an NHLer, but rather how good of one he will be” — Adam Herman, Blueshirtsbanter.com