Here we are, friends. With a new season just around the corner, we are finally at our last report card of the 2020-21 season. And we saved... well, let’s just say we saved this one for last.
Pavel Buchnevich. He was such a good boy.
Buchnevich entered the 2020-21 season under a lot of pressure to perform. It was a contract year and he had set a new career-high in scoring in 2019-20 with 46 points in 68 games with an average ice time of 16:56 TOI/GP. That year, the Russian winger looked very much like he had finally become the legitimate top-six winger the organization was counting on him to develop into. So, much of the same was expected of him in 2020-21.
Buchnevich delivered. And then some. And then the Rangers traded him away and ever since life itself has tasted of ash and hope repeatedly slips away from our collective grasp like a greased-up bunny that just swallowed a star from Super Mario.
Look at him.
He scored a hat trick on his birthday. Remember?
Buch had a big year in 2020-21 but if you are reading this, you probably already know that. You already know he had 20 goals and 28 assists — 17 of which were primary — in 54 games. You also know Buchnevich developed into a reliable penalty killer in addition to having a career-high in points for the second straight year and that he finished fourth in the team in scoring. Buch had that big year we were all waiting for, and he did it under former head coach David Quinn.
Pavel Buchnevich (traded to STL) is a very strong forward; his results are much better in the last two years than previously. pic.twitter.com/bjVTCfIyyO— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 23, 2021
At 5-on-5 (SVA), Buchnevich ranked fifth among the Rangers’ forwards in Rel xGF% (2.74) and was seventh among the team’s regular forwards with a 0.53 Rel CF%. He also had a goal and seven assists on the power-play. More importantly, he was especially productive at evens — to the tune of 36 points. Only Artemiy Panarin scored more at evens for the Rangers in 2020-21.
More or less, he did everything that was expected of him by the coaching staff, the front office, and the fans, and then some. He also developed into the team’s most reliable two-way forward and excelled at zone entries. All in all, Buch looked very good at hockey.
Pavel Buchnevich is very good pic.twitter.com/tAhVyIJfDJ— Evolving-Hockey (@EvolvingHockey) July 23, 2021
In an altogether chaotic year, Buchnevich was the Rangers’ most consistent offensive threat. He never went more than three games without registering a point and had 14 multi-point performances. He also collected magnets.
Grade: A | Banter Consensus: A
Banter’s staff graded Buchnevich’s season months ago. Looking back at our grades, I wouldn’t change a thing. No one on staff gave him a grade lower than an “A” and two of us gave him the highest grade possible. That speaks volumes about not only how far Buchnevich has come over the last three years but also his value to the team. Buch was essential to the Rangers’ modest success.
Make no mistake, he will not be an easy player to replace, even with a youngster like Kaapo Kakko in the picture. But, that is a story for another day. For now, let’s close the book on our 2021 Report Cards and think back on Buchnevich’s big year and his time in New York. It was quite a thing getting to watch him develop into the player so many of us believed he could be. I hope St. Louis appreciates what and who they have in their new winger.