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BREAKING: Rangers sign Pavel Buchnevich to Entry Level Contract

Bobby Bevilacqua

Pavel Buchnevich SKA

Photo courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images.

The long awaited news has finally been announced, with the Rangers breaking the news on Twitter that highly touted Russian prospect Pavel Buchnevich has signed his Entry Level Contract, and will play in North America next season. The deal is believed to be three years with a $925k cap hit. (per CapFriendly)

In this last season in the KHL, Buchnevich scored 16 goals and 37 points in 58 games with the Severstal Cherepovets and SKA St. Petersburg, as well as scoring another three points (1-2-3) in the playoffs. Buch is the best prospect in the Rangers’ system, and his KHL numbers at this age are similar to other Russian NHL players Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vladimir Tarasenko, although on the lower end.

Buchnevich, 21, is expected to challenge for a roster spot right out of training camp, and will be a likely candidate to play left wing on the third line. Alex Nunn covers the Rangers’ European prospects for Blueshirt Banter, and had this to say about Buchnevich when he was still with Severstal;

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.

While his talent level is high and he has the tools to be a very solid NHL player, it’s important to remember that Buchnevich is still just a kid. Tarasenko has eight goals in 38 games as a rookie, and Kuznetsov has 11 in 80 games. It’ll take some time for him to adjust to life in North America, a smaller rink, and new teammates. But having Buchnevich on the wing, finally, will be great to watch.

Antti Raanta and Pavel Buchnevich are both signed, marking a great start to the Rangers’ offseason.

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Posted on May 13, 2016, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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