New York

Time for Rangers’ Buchnevich to Lift His Game

If you’re a Blueshirts fan then you know that this upcoming season has a chance to be a struggle.

The team’s defense is extremely young, they have some new forwards, have a new head coach in David Quinn behind the bench, and an aging Lundqvist between the pipes. While they could surprise everyone and be extremely competitive this season, I believe it is going to be the former and that they will have a bit of a rough go for a while.

With that said, this year is an opportunity for certain players to show what they mean to the team both now and in the future. One player that needs to have a big year is forward Pavel Buchnevich.

Buchnevich, 23, was Alain Vigneault’s whipping boy last season as he saw the bench several times last season. That could change this season if Quinn puts him in the right position and utilizes him in the right way.

For starters, Buchnevich has soft hands. He can do unbelievable things with the puck and unfortunately for him and Rangers’ fans, it often went unnoticed because of AV’s inconsistent use of him last year.

He also has a great shot. He can whip the puck past netminders when given the room to do so and he also knows how to get open and bang in rebounds and one-timers.

Buchnevich is in a good position to have a breakout campaign because he is one of the club’s top scoring threats. He had 43 points (14 goals and 29 assists) in 74 games last season, which certainly isn’t terrible.

Had AV used him right last season, that number probably would have been much higher. That didn’t happen because AV constantly moved him up and down the lineup.

Lastly, it appears that Quinn plans to put him on a line with Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad. Both of these guys can put up points and should Quinn go ahead and use him with these two guys in the regular season, Buchnevich could end up having a great season.

Again, Rangers fans may not have a lot to look forward to, but what they do have is a chance to see Buchnevich breakout and be every bit the talented, fast, and pure point producer that management knows he can be.

*Photo: Sportsnet.ca

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