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Rangers send scouts to Russia to watch Buchnevich, could be a late season add

Bobby Bevilacqua

pavel buchnevich

Photo courtesy of Claus Anderson/Getty Images.

With Adam Graves already in Russia as a scout, the Rangers have decided to send Chris Drury, the Director of Player Development, over to the KHL to observe the organization’s top prospect, winger Pavel Buchnevich.

Buchnevich opted to stay in the KHL this season rather than come for training camp. This was definitely the right move for him, especially since the training camp roster wound up being deeper and more talented than expected. He also wanted to improve his English before coming to America.

Instead of making the team as a spare forward or joining the Wolf Pack, Buchnevich is instead enjoying top line minutes in a competitive professional hockey league, shouldering tough matchups on a nightly basis. And he’s done a really good job so far this year.

At just 20 years old, Buchnevich is the leading scorer for the Severstal Cherepovets in the KHL, recording seven goals and 13 assists through the first 29 games of the season. Those early numbers aren’t that far off from Vladimir Tarasenko and Evgeny Kuznetsov when they played in the KHL at that age.

It also can’t be stressed enough that Buchnevich is playing for a much worse team in Severstal than the ones that Tarasenko and Kuznetsov played for in the KHL.

Severstal is unlikely to make the playoffs, so he would be eligible to come to the NHL sometime in February when his KHL season is over, if the Rangers decide to take that route. Sending over Adam Graves and Chris Drury means that they’re at least considering it and are looking to evaluate his talent.

Buchnevich to the NHL could be blocked if Russia decides to put him on their World Championship roster.

This is exciting news for the Rangers. Pavel Buchnevich has been viewed as the organization’s best prospect, even when Anthony Duclair was here. His ceiling is extremely high and with the right guidance and leadership, he has a chance at developing into a very good NHL player.

Alex Nunn covers the Rangers European prospects as well as Swedish hockey for Blueshirt Banter and Pro Hockey News. He’s been watching Buchnevich play in the KHL for a while and had this to say about his development;

Buchnevich has been consistently impressive so far this season despite his Severstal team struggling for any real form.

He continues to dominate puck battles and already looks stronger than at this point last year. At 20, he is relied upon to drive the Severstal offense, and that’s something he relishes. He’s a battler and thrives under that kind of pressure.

Buchnevich can punish teams two-fold; he’s an excellent playmaker, picking the right pass after patiently waiting for an opening, and, although he doesn’t use it quite as much as he really should, he has a fantastic release too. Shoot the puck a little more and defenseman will struggle to commit either way against him.

His defensive game has improved, but there have been instances (slack stick use in the defensive zone on a couple of occassions) where it’s obvious that he still has work to do there.

Is Buchnevich NHL-ready? Absolutely. I have little doubt he could step in to the Rangers’ line-up today and produce to a reasonable expectation.

There is room for a player like him on the roster too. He’s a goal scorer with a good wrist shot, and he knows how to set up plays too, evident by his 13 assists so far. Just imagine this lineup for February onward;

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek stepan-JT Miller

Oscar Lindberg-Kevin Hayes-Pavel Buchnevich

Viktor Stalberg-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast

That’s a darn good lineup. I’m a really big fan of Stalberg, but he seems better suited for a fourth line checking role, and playing with Moore and Fast creates a really strong fourth line that could maintain possession, score and forecheck effectively.

Now put Pavel Buchnevich, a highly skilled prospect, on a line with Oscar Lindberg, who does a bit of everything, and Kevin Hayes, a wizard with the puck, and you have a young and dangerous third line.

It’s an exciting thought and a possible future for the Rangers, but nothing is confirmed yet. Stay tuned.

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Posted on November 17, 2015, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. The problem with the proposed lineup is it leaves out Stoll. We are terrible on faceoffs and the reason we got him was to improve that aspect. Without him in the lineup, we will once again, be dominated on puck possession……

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    • It wasn’t a huge problem last season. We were very bad at the dot last season and it had virtually no effect. Quality not quantity. There’s also a shot AV decides to play Stoll over Moore, or sit someone like Stalberg. I don’t know yet. Tons of ways it can play out

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