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Rangers could sign Buchnevich by this weekend; Moore and Staal not in future plans

Bobby Bevilacqua

pavel buchnevich practice

Pavel Buchnevich during a Rangers scrimmage. Photo courtesy of Paul J Bereswill

Perhaps the most important move for the Rangers to make this summer is an in-house move; signing top prospect Pavel Buchnevich to his first NHL contract. And that just might happen this weekend.

According to the New York Post, there are some hoops both sides have to jump through but it is possible that Buchnevich could sign his Entry Level Contract with the Rangers this weekend.

Buchnevich, 21, was selected in the third round of the 2013 NHL Draft, and has been playing in the KHL for the past two seasons. This year he recorded 16 goals and 37 points as a 20 year old, splitting time between the Severstal Cherepovets and SKA St. Petersburg. His skill-set and talent level has been compared to Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals, which means that he could be an impact player right away.

Buchnevich does not speak much English at all, so it would be great for him to come to North America as soon as possible in order to get acclimated to his surroundings and learn the language a bit more. Last year he decided to defer signing his ELC, but the Post says that he has declared his intent to play for the Rangers.

It isn’t fair to place a lot of expectations and a heavy burden on Buchnevich, but the Rangers aren’t exactly stacked with high level prospects, so there’s hope that the Russian winger will snag a top-nine or top-six role right away.

Buchnevich did undergo bursa sac surgery on his shoulder after the KHL playoffs ended, but the recovery timetable is only two to three weeks, so it should have no impact on his offseason plans.

Jeff Gorton is also facing his first full summer as the Rangers GM, and he has a lot of decisions to make with a lot of free agents yet to be signed. The team has between $16 and $18 million in free cap space, with these pending RFAs; Chris Kreider, JT Miller, Kevin Hayes and Dylan McIlrath. The team is also yet to talk to UFAs Viktor Stalberg and Keith Yandle.

But the team has indicated that they don’t plan to re-sign pending free agents Dominic Moore and deadline acquisition Eric Staal. Moore has been with the team for the past three seasons, but he’s turning 36 and the Rangers could use his $1.5 million cap hit free. Oscar Lindberg is expected to take over his fourth line center role.

Eric Staal failed to make a big impact with the Rangers, recording a total of six points in 25 regular season and playoff games combined. Vigneault mostly used him on the third line and didn’t utilize his skills well, but Staal could have done better.

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Posted on May 11, 2016, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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