Pavel Buchnevich came to New York in the summer of 2016 ready for a new challenge. The Rangers’ 75th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft came to the United States from Russia looking to earn a spot on the Blueshirts’ opening-night roster.
His journey started at the team’s rookie camp, and from there he was selected to play in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament. When Buchnevich first played with fellow prospects, his contemporaries saw that he was a special player. "The skill-set — he’s a very talented player," said New York forward Jimmy Vesey.
Buchnevich finished the tournament and competed in training camp to make the National Hockey League roster. Moving to the NHL from the Kontinental Hockey League brought some challenges to the Russian-born forward. The first was the ice surface — the ice in the NHL is smaller than the ice played on in the KHL.
"It’s a difficult game," Buchnevich said. "It’s so different. You need time to understand how to play on a smaller rink." The other challenge was not knowing how to speak English and communicating with his new teammates.