Players

How concerned should we be about Pavel Buchnevich?

After chaos over him on Monday, a reflection on the forward now that he's settled into a semi-permanent role for the first time in his career.

After Sunday night’s loss to Columbus, Rangers Twitter was ablaze with talks around what in the world is going on with Pavel Buchnevich.

This was a direct reaction to David Quinn moving Buchnevich from the top line to the fourth during play against the Blue Jackets and playing Brendan Lemieux in his slot.

This dry spell for Buchnevich and subsequent demotion certainly generated some talk, and with good reason. Prior to the game Tuesday night, Buchnevich had recorded seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points in his 47 games played and just one goal and four points in his last 13.

I know I was waiting all day to see where Quinn was going to play Buchnevich, and while things ended up relatively normal for him, it was not under ideal circumstances. Artemiy Panarin was out with an undisclosed upper-body injury. While Buchnevich stepped in to fill his spot on the second line, the Rangers were out their top point producer against a team they faced three times in the last nine days.

After going pointless in the last three contests, Buchnevich finally scored a goal off a shot from the point off the stick of Adam Fox, which he deflected into the net.

While calls for Buchnevich’s head may subside until the next time something like this happens, there there are many relevant points that have been made (many made by our very own staff in the first episode of Blue Seat Blog’s new and improved podcast) and some are very much worth putting into writing.

A look at Pavel Buchnevich

I think one of the biggest — not issues — but limiting factors when it comes to a full assessment of Buchnevich thus far is it is only over the last season and a half have that we have really gotten to see what he has to offer.

Between Alain Vigneault cratering him on the fourth line in his first full season and only seeing him for nine minutes a night — if we’re really getting technical, his ATOI was 15:01 in 2017-18 according to Hockey Reference, but there was one game where he played 7:41 and I felt that most — and seeing Buchnevich try trying to play his game on a line where there was no player skilled enough to reciprocate his efforts felt like a waste.

And this has led to some assumptions about Buchnevich. Most notably, it is what led to the “over-hype” of Buchnevich. The non-blog world criticizes the blog world of this — people seeing what Buchnevich had quietly offered and took a look at his KHL numbers and wishing that this would turn into him becoming an elite 60+ point player.

We saw the underlying talent, we saw the misuse that was occurring, and despite it all, he was still managing to put up solid numbers — that doesn’t always happen.

People were begging for him to be in the top six, for him to see more ice time and now that he’s there and we aren’t seeing the points it means he’s a lost cause, right?

Wrong.

Making things click is what’s most important, and in this regard, the Rangers are on the right track.

True Value

Creating chemistry is among the most predominant features of any successful hockey team. And players can create this chemistry in many ways.

Some are physical and use their bodies to generate turnovers. Some use their skating ability and puck work to outsmart defensemen and create room for themselves while others do the same by relying on their speed and brunt force. These are more likely the players you see in the point column, but there is a need for players who add value in other areas of the ice.

The most important thing when it comes to Pavel Buchnevich — now that we are really getting a good look at him in a role that suits him — is to see what he brings to the table as what it is.

He is a glue guy. He is a possession driver. He is one of the reasons why the top line has been as successful as it has. He is the guy who makes smart plays to enter the zone, create offense and help his team get into a set up that ends up becoming a chance on net.

I’d argue he’s a Jesper Fast with a bit more finesse. He may not reap the benefits in assists or points, but these plays are vital to the offense.

And it is not as if Buchnevich hasn’t been logging attempts. Currently, he is on pace to surpass his shot attempts from last season by 30+ — notably, he logged a season-high six in the Rangers loss to Nashville in December. However, the percentage of chances that have gone in the net have dropped. With a shift in luck, this can easily change.

And as we know, hockey really can be all about luck sometimes.

Final Thoughts

Before I go, I just want to recognize that when these underlying numbers that get put into charts (as much as Tony D hates them) are displayed on the ice, what it really boils down to the chemistry that ends up being seen.

Obviously, you cannot base the success of a player entirely on these numbers, but you cannot completely poo-poo them either.

When it comes to Buchnevich, valuing him as the player he is — rather than what we thought he might be — is what is most important to his future with the franchise.

Seeing him come back after the demotion — and subsequent discord on Rangers Twitter — and log a goal after a three-game pointless and seven-game goalless streak. There will be another day down the road where he goes on an equivalent point streak.

Finally, for what his value is, and what he brings to the table, the Rangers are lucky to have him. Continuing to give him the opportunity to be a playmaker will only make him better.

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  • Well done Karly!!

    Too many fans point to traditional stats only and you cannot do that with Buch. His pts per 60 have been good, overall, for his career. He is a very good possession player and I believe that the points will come. He has been battling the flu, same as other Rangers, so this break will be good for Buch and the Rangers.

    IMO, it would be very dumb to trade him, though I think that the Rangers are probably considering it. But really, what would you get for Buch, by himself? Not enough to make that trade. Keep him and ride it out.

  • I’m sorry, but I disagree with the article’s assessment of Buch. He is NOT a Jesper Fast type player. And now we’re supposed to believe he’s a possession driver/chemistry player, who provides the glue to a top six line? No way.
    Is he worth 4 mil/yr? No way.

    So in regards to Buch, chemistry is now a worthy attribute, but when bloggers and some fans refer to Strome having great chemistry with Panarin, he is labeled as riding on Bread Man’s coattails and is very replaceable? I’ll take Strome over a player like Buch every day.

    I do agree with Richter’s comment regarding trading him. by himself. He won’t warrant much in return unless you package him with someone else.

    The guy disappears for games at a time. We all want him to succeed, but at this point in his career he is what he is…a 3rd rnd player, and on a good team he would be on a third line.

    • Stoobie

      “he’s a possession driver/chemistry player, who provides the glue to a top six line?”

      How about he is a moody guy who never smiles, and always seems to have a corn cob stuck somewhere that’s uncomfortable for him to sit!!!!! Or I should say he is stoic instead????????

      • Walt…yes, that too! LOL!
        The poor guy. I do feel sorry for his bad puck luck lately, but he’s old enough now where the sulking and wearing his emotions on his sleeve thing has got to go.

    • Buch plays a different game pal. It’s not Kreider or Panarin or Zib. It is more of a “support” type of game that allows his teammates to play well.

      Buch has been near the top of pts per 60 minutes for the Rangers his whole career, that’s a fact, so he can score pts.

      I do agree that he needs to stop acting like he just lost his entire family every time he makes a mistake. He needs to learn to toughen up mentally and move on from mistakes.

      • Nobody ever compared him or his game to Panarin, Zib or Kreider. The article is comparing him to Fast, which is incorrect.

        When Buch first came up everyone envisioned/hoped he would become a creative playmaker/sniper winger. So far in his career he hasn’t really become that. So far in his career he plays like an inconsistent 3rd line player (on a good team). On the rebuilding Rangers, he bounces from first line to fourth line (under two coaches).

        • No, you misunderstand, I was not saying that anyone was saying that, I was making my own observations relating to Buch.

        • I would simply say that he just plays like a third-line winger.

          Most third line wingers in the league are inconsistent and don’t have much more than 25-30 pts. thus far in the season. The issue is that many think he should be a 1st or 2nd line player, but in reality, he was a 3rd round pick and he was drafted and came up in a time when we had literally no top tier prospects in our pipeline so there was more hype than we probably should have given at that time.

          He is who he is: a third line player with some skill/finesse who can play up if needed but will ultimately have bouts with inconsistent play.

          He doesn’t play like Jesper Fast, he just plays like himself. If we trade him, it would have to be in a multi-person deal because if not we’d get a 4th round pick or another inconsistent third line player in return.

          • I think this best summarizes Buchnevich. He’s a middle 6 player best deployed on a 3rd line on a championship caliber team. He’s versatile enough to play up a line if the need arises. I’m more than happy having him around at the right price ($4-$4.5M per) after his current contract.

      • whenever I see per 60 get referenced I get suspicious. like whats that trying to hide/swerve around? (mediocre to average point totals?)

        • It’s a simple stat, and takes into consideration that minutes played, whereas traditional stats are impacted by playing time.

  • Lmao worst assessment I’ve ever read on a player. He’s horrible, with all of his chances and opportunities to score, he doesn’t. He’s a trade waiting to happen, that’s what he is. His face and body language fails him before he even steps foot on the ice. A cancer if you ask me. Get rid of this germ and his salary.

    • This is the worst assessment on an assessment I’ve ever read, if you ask me.

      It feels like you have a personal issue with Buchnevich if you have such a response to a $3.25M cap hit on an $81.5M salary cap. It also feels like you have no understanding of how to respectfully share your thoughts. But go off.

      • Well said, Becky. I signed in just to call BelieveMe an idiot, but you were more eloquent than I would’ve been.

        • Not at all…. check your shorts little fella…

          Buch is a lost cause… needs to be out of the way ASAP. The perfect example of a throw in.

        • Not sure who you are or where you come from but you can disagree with respect of others opinions instead of resorting to gender slurs on this board.

          Your opinions are colored by how you communicate and so far all I see is a philly troll

  • Karly, nice intelligent read – thanks

    Buch is 24 and has talent that will continue to grow.

    Even when he smiles he looks upset, thats not any reason to doubt his heart, especially form anyone who is not in the locker room or ice with the youngster.

    I think he has been noticed only because his level of play is in a slump.

    LGR!!!

  • The ship probably sailed on his trade value if he really had any. So now we’re going to keep him through next season and see if he can evolve into a viable middle six guy. If he does, then Gorton has another predicament… what type of contract does he get?

    With 17-18 minutes a game I think he’s capable of 50 points a season, something like 20 goals 30 assists. After his 43 point second season the thought was he could be a consistent 60 point guy… hasn’t happened. I don’t think he’s worth trading right now we would be lucky to get a 3rd round pick. I’m not giving up on him yet.

  • Here is my buch analysis: What is the skill that buchnevich is exceptional at ? Not the fastest , not gonna dangle , shooter? Ha. . Passing is probably his best attribute, as I believe was alluded to in the post . However most players that can get to the 50-60-80 point level as a playmaker can do the other aspects more than adequately as well.

    So, hes proven he can be a 43 point player. But has struggled to maintain that waypoint. At 3.25 that’s still decent to good value. I think if they trade him now or the summer it’s more bc of stylistic clash and to clear $. Regarding the fancy metrics, if they hold so much water the trade market surely has that info as well?

  • The end of last season Buch ended very strong. He finished with 21 goals (with a higher shooting % in 2018-19) up from 14goals the year before. He was much more focused and effective as a player too. And that was noticeable, He appeared to be reaching a higher level of play. So expectations are/were high and rightfully so.

    Candidly speaking, although there are plenty of positives about Buch, I don’t feel like he has reached that higher level, from the end of last season, much of this year, if at all. And that is a bit disappointing. He’s still young, and this is the time for him to shine, and he’s not setting himself out above other younger guys. Panarin and Kakko are going to be top six wingers. Kratsov is most likely going to be a top 6 winger. We will probably have a high draft pick who will most likely be top 6 caliber. So where does that leave Buch? And I think that is the real question. He has a lot of value. And that value can bring us back things we need.

  • Some of you guys crack me up! Have a close look at Kreider and Buch’s career stats. Both started in the NHL at similar ages. Kreider was #19 overall in 2009 while Buch was 75th in 2013. I appreciate they have very different skills sets but both as top 6 forward have a very similar measuring stick (ie production). Sure Kreider contributes as a net presence that doesn’t show up in the box score but Karly made an extremely good point in how Buch makes zone entry a whole lot easier for his linemates so I think they are comparable there as well. The one big difference inc careers is that Kreider has had far better line mates and playing time over the life of his career yet the same guys that put Kreider up on a pedestal (“Please don’t trade him”) are now criticizing Buch’s play?!?!?! How many of you guys would still have a smile on your faces at work after years of demotions the equivalent of working in the mail room (ie line mates like at Glass, Haley, Smith, etc)? Though I do agree, Buch being happy will not bring a smile on his face. But perhaps coaches instilling some confidence in him over an extended period of time might just help. And you can’t tell me his effort level is the problem because he is still way ahead of Kappo in the defensive end yet you don’t see him on the 4th line ever. You don’t trade Buch because of his performance but I have no qualms if he, or any player for that matter, is part of a bigger deal that improves the team.

    • Ugh…the linemates argument again? Really?

      Buch has had many, many chances to shine. He’s been given PLENTY of opportunities to hold down a top-six spot over many seasons. He doesn’t have it.

      It’s the same as Lias… your linemates do not make or break your career. If they do, you were not that great to begin with.

      • Ask Cam Atkinson of the Blue Jackets about linemates. Think he’d score 41 goals playing with Greg McKegg?

      • One of the more ignorant state,ents I have ever read on this blog. Go back to following the Wold Cup Squash Tour.

        • Let me know how many goals Atkinson finishes with this year. As you said, I’ll be busy with the world squash tour until season’s end, so it’ll be difficult for me to access the internet until then. Appreciate the help!

  • I get it, Buchnevich is good at making his line mates better. He is a skilled guy who is still trying to figure things out. I am on the fence with him because 1) he has decent skills, and 2) the Rangers don’t have a lot of wingers in the wings. So the question becomes: if you trade Buchnevich, what are you going to get in return and how are you going to fill his spot?

    During the second half of last season Buchnevich displayed how good he can be. If he can play that way consistently, then you have a good, top-six winger who is a playmaker too. I think it is fair to say that he also seems not to always bring his best effort. Quinn’s wake up calls are made because of things the coaching staff see on the ice. So that is the challenge with the young man; can he be molded into a consistent player? I don’t know the answer to that question and that is why I can’t say that he is a must keep or a must trade. Smarter folks than me with the Rangers will have to figure that out.

  • I don’t care if he smiles or not; if he is Russian, Chinese, Angolan or Quebecois. What I want for him and all Rangers is grit, intensity of effort and smart hockey –no dumb play(s).
    What I see is a big guy who can skate, pass and see the game in a hockey sense, superbly who seems smart and who is not consistent and seems to fade into the ice too many times. Do not suggest he is Fast as in Jesper. Fast is a guy with less skill but way more grit and desire to go into the dirty parts of the ice to dig and give the skilled guys the chances they get. Buch is not that.

    • BUT … he has made great strides in the last few years regarding his competitiveness and willingness to fight for pucks.

  • ANYONE that cares for the way that Buch plays clearly is either not watching games and/or has never played. Is THAT the type of player (or person) you would want to go to war with?? Lazy, indifferent, sullen, no heart, and oh btw can’t put the puck in the ocean. Look at the top teams… do they have ANYONE like Buch? 3/4 liners are the glue or grit of a team. So Buch is neither a top 6 plAyer nor a grot 3/4 liner. He is another Daisy, another Pionk, another no-heart player that will never win anything, but will occasionally put up some numbers to maintain his status as an NHLer. Who / what would you rather have a plAyer that will go thru a wall for the team or “happy” that looks and plays like it’s not about him?
    That type of player is and will always be a cancer, NOT because of lack of talent, but because their lack of motivation spreads to other teammates. I encourage each of you to read “educated derelict” speech by Calvin Coolidge — “persistence and determination are omnipotent”….

    • Is this a joke? Quoting Calvin Coolidge? A guy who stumbled into the presidency by having Warren Harding die is gonna lecture us about the value of hard work?

      Buchnevich is an underrated defensive player, and a guy who’s dropped the gloves this year. He took a savage elbow to the head this year and barely missed a shift in the game when it occurred. For a guy who gets called soft, I certainly see him shooting from down low a lot. Defense, taking punishment to make plays—since when is stuff like this not representative of a tough player?

  • I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in a long time. Some of these comments are priceless! Sad, because I think many are intended to be serious but priceless none the less.

    • I am not a huge Buchnevich fan but, I see a difference in his play from previous seasons(Aside from the end of last season where he excelled). He appears to be playing a grittier game this year. Fighting for pucks along the boards and and creating scoring chances for both himself and ,his line mates.
      That being said, I wish he would start converting on some of those opportunities.
      He also appears to be developing a thicker skin and not resorting to sulking (and soft play)when things don’t go his way.
      IMO he is worth keeping and has finally figured out how to play a more rounded game. If he sticks with it he will start getting rewarded.

  • The grass is always greener … or is it???

    You would be lucky to replace Buch with a comparable player, but IF one should happen to present itself than sure you can go ahead and trade him — but you better be damn sure you’re getting real value for him because I think you would be hard pressed to do so. I would say the same about Jesper Fast or Kreider, but both are slated to be UFAs, so the equation of whether or not to trade either of them is of course different.

  • I don’t understand the point. Buchnevich is a middle six forward. We can argue about exactly how good a middle six forward and how much the should be paid, but we mostly know where he fits in. He is not the star we hoped he be, but he is better than McKegg, who is a legitimate NHL player. At $2M a year, he is a steal. At $6M a year, a mistake. I don’t know where the sweet spot is.

    I do object to berating the coaches for misusing him. Vigneault did not mishandle Buchnevich. If a guy plays 15 minutes a game, he is not out there all the time with fourth liners because they don’t play fifteen minutes. And you can judge a guy’s play no matter who he plays with. Sure, you can score more easily on a line with Panarin than with McKegg, but you can evaluate a player under both circumstances. Personally, I thought Buch generally acquitted himself pretty well on the fourth line – so I did not view that situation as putting him in a bad light.

  • Buch is a 3rd line forward . He isn’t a star and will never be. He has reached his peak in terms of points ( mid 40’s ) and will never get to 50 points. His salary at this point is about where it should be relative to his point production.

    As for his trade value. I believe he can bring back a 2nd round pick under the right circumstances. Anyone who expects more from him is filling themselves.

  • You lost me early in this article, but the kicker was comparing him to Fast?!? In what world?!?

    The guy is over-hyped and articles like this are a big reason. It’s like you’re watching a completely different player out there. I, for one, barely notice him most nights. When I do notice him, he’s missing an opportunity or shooting wide.

    They should look to move him. They gave him the bridge deal (thank god!), and I’m pretty sure he’s hit his ceiling as a mid-6/bottom-6 player. There’s zero chance they’re gonna sign him long-term to anything significant. So if the deal is right, it’s move him.

    Buch and Lias for Puljujarvi + a decent pick?

  • I believe you are correct about Buchnevich being a glue guy.
    If Buchnevich is a possession guy then the the Rangers should try him at the center position.. When he played in Russia he played both positions.
    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It is worth a shot.

  • I agree with my good friend…Czech….Buch will never be a star and is a complimentary player, but I would not give him away either….He is a third line player at best IMO…

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