Early New York Rangers MVP: Pavel Buchnevich

Even though he was kept off the scoresheet on Monday night, the New York Ranger‘s Pavel Buchnevich has been the solid consistent force for a team that has been solidly inconsistent through nine games this season.

Head coach David Quinn is well aware of this and has trusted Buchnevich as the young Russian led all Rangers forwards in ice-time in Monday night’s 3-1 victory with a 21:41 TOI.

Buchnevich trails only Artemi Panarin for points scored for the Blueshirts, but his unselfish and energetic play has made him one of the more, if not the most valuable player for the team through nine games.

This was the kind of play that the Ranger’s brass was hoping for from the 25-year-old. At the beginning of training camp, Quinn talked about the impact that Buchnevich might have and tabbed him as one of the players who might have a breakout season.

“The guy that’s kind of jumping out to all of us is Buchnevich,” coach David Quinn said. “Obviously, he had a real good second half last year. This is the best camp he’s had since I’ve been here. I loved the way he played in the scrimmage Thursday night, I just love the way things are going for him. He and I have had long conversations about what his abilities are and we certainly know what he’s capable of doing. I’m excited for the fact that it looks like he’s got a chance to maximize his potential for a full season as opposed to just half.”

He jumped out of the gate during the Ranger’s first win of the season. It was Buchnevich who scored the Rangers’ first goal of the season at 2:12 of the first period, giving them a 1-0 lead over the Islanders with a far side wrist shot from the left circle off a pass from Mika Zibanejad. This goal seemed to settle the Rangers down a little bit and they played much better than they did when they were shutout in the season opener by the  Islanders.

Buchnevich scored again at 5:57 of the second period, giving the Rangers a 3-0 lead with another far side wrist shot from the left circle, a game the Rangers would eventually win 5-0.

Ever since then, Buchnevich’s play has provided the team the stable play while some of the other players have struggled out the gate, and while others have been lost due to injury.

Quinn has recently reward Buchnevich by bumping him up on the top power-play unit.

It is that model of consistency that coaches love and look for, especially when the team has not played well. Whoever ends up on a line with Buchnevich, those two players seem to play much better because of Buchnevich.

Buchnevich has been among the only Rangers who have come to play every game this season. He has been consistent and impressive, playing with an energy that rubs off on others around him.

The Rangers will need that to continue if they have any hopes of rebounding from their slow start and making a run at the playoffs.