NY Rangers 2019-2020 Player Report Card: Pavel Buchnevich

Admin note: With the regular season officially over, we are going to transition to some offseason content while we wait for the 24 team playoff. Usually we would do player report cards by position, but since there isn’t much going on and we can only write so much about the pending matchup with Carolina, it makes sense to go a little more in depth with each player review. 

Pavel Buchnevich will always be a polarizing player in New York. The 25 year old had lofty expectations, mostly because he was the first legitimate talent to be excited about as a home grown player in a while. Buchnevich had bounced around the middle-six of the lineup for a while, but finally stuck in the top-six this season. When the season was cut short, Buchnevich had already set career highs in points (46) and assists (30), and was five goals short of tying his high there.

The key to Buchnevich finally sticking in the top-six was consistent performance. His 19-36-55 82-game scoring line pace was fifth among forwards and sixth among all Rangers skaters. The key to a team’s success is secondary scoring, and Buchnevich certainly provided that in spades.

Other key aspects to Buchnevich sticking in the top-six was his play, both offensively and defensively, away from the puck. The offense saw a significant improvement while Buchnevich was on the ice, a net 22% increase in overall shot quality/quantity against league average. Most of that offense was in front of the net as well.

Perhaps one of Buchnevich’s best improvements is on the defensive side of the puck. Buchnevich did sport a CF% of 50.82, which was tops on the team, and an xGF% of 51.85, third on the team. Both measure –to some degree– Buchnevich’s ability to keep the play in the offensive zone while limiting both quantity and quality of shots against. The graphic above shows that the team did play significantly better in the defensive zone while he was on the ice. This suggests that he was a major catalyst to improved defensive play across the board.

Successful teams need players like Buchnevich to be true contenders. He may not put up numbers like Artemi Panarin or Mika Zibanejad, but he’s a steady presence on both sides of the ice. His 55 point pace is perfect for secondary scoring as well. I’d like to see consistent 20-goal seasons, but deferring to Zibanejad isn’t exactly a bad idea nowadays.

Grade: A.

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  • I won’t disagree (well maybe I would give him an A-), I’ve always been a supporter. I want to add though that Buch has shown over the course of the last couple of years that he gets off to slow starts and tends to heat up in the 2nd half of the season — we don’t know yet how that might translate into playoff performance. He could have broken 60 points this year — he was on one of his hot streaks prior to the “pause”.

    He’s gotten better each year, he has a good chemistry with Mika Z and Kreider and was a big factor in giving us two real scoring lines. He just turned 25 and I would have no issue if they rewarded him this summer with a 4-5 year extension under $5M (taking him to 30-31) — with the usual caveat of adding nothing more than a very limited NTC, or even a NTC for the first couple of years and then no NTC for the last 2-3. You always have to preserve as much flexibility as possible.

    • Agree with the rating basically. As a top six player, he merits either A- or B+. So a Ranger fan should give him an A-. An “A” player is just more impactful. The KBZ line was pretty good, but not two A’s and an A+ good.

  • I think I can say that this is clearly the best season I’ve seen from Buch. He’s certainly not a little guy, but this is the first season where I saw him use his size and strength both effectively, and more important, consistently. Combine that with the talent he’s already shown, and you have a legitimate top line player. He drove possession, fought along the boards, did his job defensively, and really worked well with Mika and Chris. He’s a keeper, for sure.

    • Even last season, he was too skinny to be effective at 5v5. Now he’s almost there. But a 60 point guy is what you’re going to get. Nothing wrong with that and value for a 3rd round pick, but this is the issue with skinny players. It takes too long for them to put in weight to get great value.

      In the 3rd round, that tan acceptable risk, but as a 1st rounder like Kravtsov not so much.

      • I remember when Buch first came to a Rangers’ camp, to say he was skinny and weak is an understatement … but different players fill out in different ways and on different time schedules. I wouldn’t worry about skinny when you’re under 20, I would worry at 23-24 — a couple of off-seasons of hard training and he could hit 200 pounds and be twice as strong as he was last season — and he’ll have to be to deal with the NHL game.

        • The thing is: when you’re super skinny at 18(10kg+ below your height in cm -100) you’re an ectomorph that will never put on the weight easily enough, which limits your odds of even making it in the NHL. And by the time they actually fill out to be optimally effective, the team control is gone and aging curves are about to kick in.

          Buch for his height should be 205 to be average for the NHL, he’s at 195.

          Elias Pettersson is an outlier in that he is still way under, but he’s motocross fearless.

          • Weight does not equate strength … and not every player needs to follow a specific formula of height to weight. That’s just an old bias.

          • Tell that to Adam Tambellini.

            I wrote an excel formula using 20 years of Central scouting rankings using their draft year height & weight and the lack of weight for height is the greatest correlation for high scoring players not taking the next step up.

            The greater the variance, the greater the scoring rate needed to be. Either under or over.

          • Adam Tambellini? lol He was never confused with a Kravtsov or a Buchnevich — his issues were a lot greater than weight.

      • I clearly remember hearing the boards rumble a few times during this past season when he was involved. I could actually hear the increased a) weight, b) drive or c) willingness to get involved. I was listening for it because I had not heard this strange sound in the past.

  • Buchnevich has both skill and a high hockey IQ. He has gotten tougher physically as he filled out some the last couple of years. He is probably easily a 55 – 60 point guy every year for the next several years who makes the players playing with him better. Definitely need a guy like him on the club.

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