Early Friday afternoon, the New York Rangers officially announced the signing of top prospect Pavel Buchnevich to an entry-level contract.
Buchnevich was drafted by the Rangers in the third round (75th Overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft. The 21-year-old Russian forward
has been considered the Blueshirts’ top prospect and has spent the past several years playing in the Russian Kontinental Hockey League,better known as the KHL.
In 158 total KHL regular season games, Pavel Buchnevich has scored 37 goals, while adding another 50 assists, totaling 87 points. Buchnevich’s entry-level contract is believed to be three years with an annual average salary of $925,000.
Buchnevich is expected to arrive in New York within the next week or so, where he will then start to train for the upcoming New York Rangers pre-season camp, as well as his first ever National Hockey League season. He will be battling for a top nine forward position. The 6-foot-1, 176 pound forward will focus on adding some bulk in order to compete among some of the heavy weights in the NHL.
With Pavel Buchnevich now signed, the Rangers can turn their focus to players such as Keith Yandle, Dominic Moore, and Eric Staal, all of whom have contracts that will expire on July 1st, making them unrestricted free agents.
The following is a scouting report from LWOS Prospect Guru Ben Kerr.
Buchnevich is a terrific skater. He has very fast top end speed, excellent acceleration and great first step quickness. This makes him extremely dangerous off the rush, and he is not afraid to go wide on a defenceman and then cut to the net. He also has great agility, and good balance on his skates. Buchnevich could stand to add some weight to his frame but even with that, his balance and strength on the puck is decent now. Some added core strength will be needed on a smaller ice surface with more work along the boards though.
Buchnevich is able to play all three forward positions which is a major plus for any prospect. He’s a pure sniper, with a fantastic wrist shot and snap shot. They are both powerful, accurate, and feature quick releases. He also has a very good one timer. Buchnevich is often able to force defenders to give him space due to his skating and it as at this point he can unleash is shot on the rush. He has good stickhandling skills and protects the puck very well. He’s not afraid to go through traffic and take the puck right to the net in order to get chances. Buchnevich is a skilled playmaker as well, he is very creative and is willing to try things that most players wouldn’t have the skill level to dream about. He also is willing to work hard in the corners and digging for loose pucks.
Buchnevich’s defensive game is improving, but is still a bit of a work in progress. He can often looked lost in the defensive zone as his positioning and fundamentals need a lot of work. He seems willing enough, but will need some major help in coaching going forward.
Main Photo: TORONTO, ON – JANUARY 4: Pavel Buchnevich #19 of Team Russia skates against Team Sweden during a semi-final game in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship at the Air Canada Centre on January 4, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Team Russia defeated Team Sweden 4-2 to advance to the gold medal game against Canada. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)