The New York Rangers are trying to use this season as a development year, giving young players lots of ice time to see what they can do. Unfortunately, one of those young players is going to lose a huge chunk of the season to injury, as the team announced Pavel Buchnevich will be out for four to six weeks after breaking his thumb this weekend.
Buchnevich, 23, is coming off an impressive season which showed he could be a key player for the Rangers going forward. With 14 goals and 43 points in 2017-18, he actually finished fourth on the team in scoring and set himself up for a pretty substantial raise at the end of his entry-level contract. That was dependent on him taking another step forward this season, but it looked like he had early on as Buchnevich already has nine points in 14 games. Unfortunately that 43 point total now seems in doubt given he’ll miss up to 18 games with this latest injury.
The Rangers are off to a better start than many expected, as their 8-7-2 record has them tied for third in the Metropolitan Division. That’s in part thanks to Buchnevich’s strong play to start the year, something they’ll have to find a replacement for now that he’s sidelined. An increased opportunity may present itself for some of the Rangers other prized young players like Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, something they’ll have to take advantage of quickly if the team has any hope of competing for the playoffs this year.