2017-18 Pavel Buchnevich Expectations
In the 3rd round of the 2013 NHL Draft, the New York Rangers selected Pavel Buchnevich with the 75th pick; a speedster with a high offensive ceiling. Since then fans have been hearing about Buchnevich being the future. Finally before the 2016-17 season, Buchnevich signed an entry level contract and made his debut against the New York Islanders.
Buchnevich is the epitome of an Alain Vigneault type of player. There is an immense amount of talent possessed by the Russian forward and he is a top nine player that can slot in on any lines wing. Back spasms sidelined Buchnevich for about half the season. Injuries, especially lingering ones like back spasms, cause a player to start from scratch. It is almost as if a whole season started when Buchnevich came back. As a rookie and as a player still getting used to the North American ice surface as opposed to the European ice surface, the injury he sustained was even more detrimental to his development. The hope for this season is that Buchnevich can stay healthy as he has high expectation on him for the upcoming season. Did I mention that he’s oozing with talent?
On November 5, 2016 Pavel Buchnevich scored his first NHL goal. An absolute snipe short side on Tuukka Rask on the power play.
A day later, Buchnevich shows off his hands and patience and scores his first goal at home against the Winnipeg Jets.
At many times throughout his 41 game regular season, number 89 showed his talent, speed and aggressiveness. As a rookie Buchnevich was at times a player that many would say is a vital player for the power play and for the offense in general. Despite starting the season on the second line Buchnevich was slowly demoted and at times was a fourth line player. This is not what Buchnevich’s talent represents nor is it where he should be playing. The excitement from the KZB line (Kreider, Zibanejad, Buchnevich) to start last season had plenty of merit to it. The trio always seemed to work well together during the season and there is a high chance we see them together to begin the upcoming season.
In 41 games Buchnevich registered 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists). Since he played half the season for fun we can say at this pace in a full season he would have had 40 points (16 goals and 24 assists), which for all intents and purposes is a good inaugural season for a rookie and especially one coming over from Europe.
What to expect:
Buchnevich will not only get the training wheels taken off the season; he will be thrown into both high expectations and responsibilities. More ice time means more chances and more chances means more points. Should he play a full season 80-82 games Buchnevich should become a 25+ goal scorer. He also could see similar numbers in assists. Buchnevich has a shot that could (and honestly should) make him be one of the few selfish players on the team. Let’s say 27 goals and 17 assists for 44 points is a reasonable full season expectation for Buchnevich. Is he a first line guy this season? I’m not sure but he for sure needs to be a top six forward all season long.
What I like about Buchnevich is that even when he didn’t score he seemed to make smart hockey plays. He is a smart and talented hockey player and showed a decent ability to play on the back end too. The hype for Buchnevich was warranted. He is an exciting hockey player to watch and his talent level is through the roof. It isn’t a question of if he will be a huge impact on the New York Rangers; it’s when.