Appreciating Pavel Buchnevich

Fourth year winger enjoying breakout year

In a train wreck and roller coaster ride of a season, one of the few steady positives on offense had been a source of division since he arrived in New York. Pavel Buchnevich, he of high skill yet mediocre results through now, has found a nice home with Chris Kreider and one of Filip Chytil or Mika Zibanejad as his center. His 4-14-18 line through 22 games puts him on pace for 15-52-67, which would shatter his career high in points. Worth noting that the majority of his points are at even strength as well.

It’s easy to look at point totals and see contribution, but it’s harder to watch –especially on the Rangers this year– and see contribution away from the puck. Buchnevich has made significant strides in driving offense, getting to open spaces, and creating offense for his linemates.

The Rangers are a far better team offensively with Buchnevich on the ice. That clump of red is right where Buchnevich should be on the ice, and it turns into a blue glob of nothingness when he’s off the ice. Of course I’m not really telling you anything you didn’t already know.

Here’s something you might not have known though: Buchnevich is off the charts good offensively. Plus he’s actually decent –comparatively to this defensive disaster that is the Rangers– defensively as well. Let’s just take a quick run through the full numbers and his team rank (min: 100 minutes):

  • CF%: 2nd (47.43)
  • CF/60: 2nd (56.92)
  • CA/60: 5th (63.09)
  • xGF%: 3rd (50.40%)
  • xGF/60: 2nd (2.88)
  • xGA/60: 6th (2.84)

Funny enough, he ranks ahead of Artemi Panarin in a lot of these categories. That’s not to say he’s better than Panarin, he’s not, just something that was funny. Buchnevich has his own skill sets, and while he’s not the elite talent of Panarin, he’s generating his own offense and making his teammates better too. When looking for scoring depth to round out your top-six, this is exactly what you want to see.

In an attempt to get ahead of some of the comments: Buchnevich insisted on his bridge deal, betting on himself and turning down a long-term contract from the Rangers. The bridge deal was from Buchnevich, not the Rangers. That’s important.

I don’t have video queued up to show how Buchnevich has been making his teammates better, as I stopped making gifs a while ago, but the 14 assists are surely a way of showing this.

But where are the goal, you may ask?

Those finding a reason to complain about Buchnevich thus far this year have pointed to this, as he only has four goals and is on pace for 15 goals, short of the 20 he scored last season. It’s pretty simple actually, Buchnevich was never a shooter. His season high in SOG is 136, and he’s on pace for 134 this season. Last year he actually shot less (119 SOG) but shot at a 17.6% rate. He’s shooting at 11.1% this year, thus fewer goals. SH% regression does happen folks, even if it doesn’t necessarily happen right away (see: Grabner, Michael; Strome, Ryan).

Buchnevich is enjoying a career year pace with steady and consistent top-six time and free space to be creative in the offensive zone. With Mika Zibanejad back in the lineup, Buchnevich should continue to see his assist numbers climb. He needed to take the next step this season, and he has answered the call.

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  • Good article David, and appropriate.

    The one thing though is “breakout year?” Buch has been consistently a leader on the Rangers for pts per 60, 5 on 5. Indicating very good production no matter how much or little the Rangers actually played him.

    So it appears like the pts are accumulating because he’s actually getting the minutes. The production was always there. I thought that 50+ pts was always a goal for this player. I’ve always liked him, despite the obvious frustrations he gives coaches and fans, where he could be even better if he remedied those gaffes.

    He’s a keeper but he does need to shoot more. All the Rangers do, for that matter. CK’s rebound goal against the Wild show what happens when you get the puck to the dam net. The Rangers get very few “put backs” because of their lack of shooting. Shoot the dam puck!!

    • Agree 100% – He is and will continue to be a major beneficiary of the Euro/Russian talent infusion. The rumors of him being traded over the summer were a joke given that International juggernaut tickets to NY had already been punched. And…Krav’s isn’t even here yet. But let’s save that for another day, shall we???

      Happy Thanksgiving to all….

      • Quinn loves Buch and pushes the “tough love” on him, regularly.

        Though I was not enamored by Quinn calling out Buch publicly for the too many men penalty last week. But what evs.

        Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours my friend.

      • Quinn loves Buch and shows him the tough love regularly.

        Though I did not like Quinn publicly calling out Buch for the too many men penalty last week.

        Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours my friend.

  • biggest dif for me is that he is getting in traffic a lot more this year and taking the puck to the net. (Quinn screwed him up, right?)

    However, is 134-136 shots enough to be a top 6 fwd ? discuss.

    • “However, is 134-136 shots enough to be a top 6 fwd ? discuss.”

      In comparison to Kevin Hayes? Sure.

  • Only morons wouldn’t appreciate what Buchnevich can do on the ice. Sad thing is Vigneault wasted 2 years of the kid’s career. Buch finished last year strongly and has been a streaky goal scorer in his short career. Still confident he’ll hit the 20-goal mark if he stays healthy.

  • Buch could be so much better and I totally understand why DQ is tough on him. Buch has elite material in him,….and DQ knows that Buch has another level to his game and he is trying to get Buch there…..

    • There’s no question in my mind that Quinn’s toughness on Buch, (If it really was that. From what we’ve heard about it, Buch understood why he was benched, and responded affirmatively.), brought about a big improvement in Buch’s play, and his attitude. (I think last year was the first time I actually saw him smile). I think that Zibanejad coming back, and the coach putting the KZB line back together, will lead to more goals for both Chris and Pavel.

  • He seems to be getting quite a bit more scoring chances on a regular basis this season, just not burying them. I would be worried if he wasn’t getting them, and think he will score in clusters eventually and break the 20 goal mark if not 25.

  • Trainwreck of a season is a bit strong. Rangers were expected to be a bubble team, are a bubble team. And so far they show no sign of dropping back into the bottom echelon of the league. Defense though, yeah, bit of a train wreck.

    Now as for Captain Happy, I suspect the Rangers are seeing just what they expected from him too. And, I think they see him as a long-term piece of the puzzle. I think many of us will be surprised, and a bit worried, at the contract he receives from MSG at the end of this bridge deal.

  • Agree, this a bubble team and anyone expecting a cup run…well…..unless we add a stud D man and get rid of some pylons….Also we have many youngsters that have not played a full season of NHL hockey…

    • Yep, I would love to see Kravtsov, Miller and (hopefully) Morgan Barron here next season to continue this rebuild… the Cap will be a problem which is why Kreider’s future is in some doubt.

  • Buch is showing everyone what he can do if given top 6 minutes
    Isn’t funny how we were getting daily updates on Zibby but not one word about Staal?
    Guessing they are trying to work out a amicable departure for him.
    CAP space will definitely be an issue next year with the monster cap hit from Shatty contract. Not sure how they deal with Krieder, Tony D and Strome. Skjei will most likely be a casualty. Smith isn’t coming back.
    Would be nice if Hank figured out a way to save us some dollars

      • Back in the day we traded a 29 year old Vezina winner because his understudy would go on and backstop the team to a Stanley cup.

        Not only that he made the famous save with his toe on a bure penalty shot.

        So while I appreciate everything hank has done, it’s time.

    • We will lose a few players. I would rather keep Tony D. Smith and Staal should not be back.

  • I’m on the road and wanted to wish everyone a healthy, and happy Thanksgiving day for all, and their families!!!!!!!!!

  • Happy Thanksgiving and be thankful today and every day:

    Be thankful for family and friends.
    Be thankful for what we have.
    Be thankful for our military and all first responders.
    Be thankful that we can all come here and enjoy our Rangers.
    Be thankful for the writers and posters here.
    Be thankful that we live in a great country, even with its warts.
    Please think of the sick and the lonely, that their lives get better soon.
    Be generous all year round, as people need to eat 365 days, not just today.

  • You would think Bush might make a good center man. He has always been a setup type of player that racks up more assists then goals. Just a thought.

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