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Rangers Development The Key To The Rest of Their Season

March 8, 2019, 9:44 AM ET [1 Comments]
Russ Cohen
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The New York Rangers may have lost a 3-2 shootout game against the Detroit Red Wings but there were a lot of positives in that game. Pavel Buchnevich was certainly one of them. The talented Russian scored two goals, both at even strength and in a season that had some ups and downs it looks like it’s going to end on a high note.

His second goal was his 15th on the season. That’s his career high for the third-year player. David Quinn has shown some tough love to the winger but he’s starting to see the benefits of that. Even though his ice time is down since last season, 14:37 is still a respectable number. He will play in fewer games than last season and his shots are down, but his 17.6 shooting percentage is impressive. He’s making the most of his opportunities out on the ice.

I’ve seen a nice change in his play, especially along the walls. At 6-3, just under 200 pounds, he is a strong guy. Now almost 24, I see him making solid plays with his stick. He doesn’t have to cream players, he just has to win battles and he’s doing that in the offensive zone and that’s what the Ranger coach wants to see.

If Buchnevich can end the season right around 20 goals, that’s a big success. Remember, Gordie Clark selected him in the third round in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and so far, he’s played in 165 games so far, when he reaches 200 that’s a complete success.

Vitali Kravtsov got word from his KHL team, Traktor, that he is free to join the New York Rangers. The catch is the Rangers still have to negotiate his release. While doing that it seems like the talented prospect can play up to 10 NHL without having to be protected in the eventual Seattle expansion draft. If that is the case, you can expect to see him in North America very soon. I spoke to him just before the World Junior Championship and his only worry then was playing out the season in Traktor, but after that, he left the door wide open to going to New York. Buchnevich can be a big plus here in making him feel comfortable. Same goes for Vladislav Namestnikov. Two things Russian prospects have to get used to when they come over is everyday living and the smaller ice surface. There will be an adjustment for Kravtsov, but with a 6-4 frame, the winger should be able to show off his NHL passing ability and pro shot. His deceptive speed could initially make him hard to cover but be patient, there will be some hiccups.
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