Unfortunately for 2013 third-round pick Pavel Buchnevich, a rash of second and third-period penalties in recent Severstal games has seen his TOI cut drastically as he does not ice on their primary PP or PK units. Playing third-line minutes at even strength has limited his chances somewhat too.
There is no doubt that at just 18 years of age Buchnevich's development is helped by logging minutes in the KHL. He has already worked his way on to Severstal's second line once this year by impressing during their opening run of games and he will be given every chance to earn his way back there as the season progresses.
Obviously it is an interesting debate as to whether Buchnevich is best served playing in the KHL with decreasing minutes or getting major time in the MHL with Almaz instead. It is an argument that goes both ways I think, but I personally believe Buchnevich is in the best spot to develop with Severstal at this point. If he can prove that he deserves the minutes then he will get them.
On the ice Buchnevich has really just stuck to his game. He has made some strong individual plays but has not managed to really stand out in any way. He works hard and is still shooting the puck at every opportunity.
Swedish defenseman Calle Andersson has made a strong return to action with Allsvenskan side Malmö, posting three points in four games over the past fortnight.
Most impressive, though, is Andersson's work on the power play. Malmö's extra-man unit has been red-hot of late and Andersson has played a big part in that success. He works well to find space at the point and does not hesitate to shoot the puck.
His willingness to bomb away from the blueline has earned Andersson a couple of primary assists on the power play, Joey Tenute and Bjorn Svensson the scorers. Andersson's defensive work has been solid too; save for one missed play in a 5-1 loss to league-leading Karlskrona, he looks to have re-found his game quickly after seven months out and has not made any glaring mistakes at the back.
The upswing in offensive opportunity is the most pleasing thing for me at this point. It was speculated on prior to the season that Andersson would see more minutes on the power play this year and he looks to be making that chance count early doors.
Thomas Spelling has started his AL-Bank Ligaen season in the manner that I think most would expect. The Danish forward, back home after one season in Sweden, is averaging roughly 1.5 points per-game and looks primed to hit the kind of numbers people would hope for against this level of opposition.
SønderjyskE are dominating games and piling up goals, so Spelling will get ample opportunity to put up points on their second line and top PP unit this year. Spelling looks to be enjoying his hockey out there, which is important as he tries to bounce back from a disappointing end to the 2012-13 season with Rögle.