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Looking to make the leap: Pavel Buchnevich

Team Canada v Team Russia

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 5: Pavel Buchnevich #19 of Team Russia tries to break away from Fredrik Gauthier #22 of Team Canada during the gold medal game in the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship at the Air Canada Centre on January 5, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Team Canada defeated Team Russia 5-4 to win the gold medal. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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This post is part of Rangers Day on PHT…

The opportunity is right there for Pavel Buchnevich. The 21-year-old Russian forward is “going to get every chance” to prove he does -- or does not -- belong in the NHL next season.

Drafted 75th overall in 2013, Buchnevich signed with the Rangers after setting KHL career highs in 2015-16. He finished with 16 goals and 21 assists in 58 games, splitting his season between Severstal Cherepovets and SKA Saint Petersburg.

He’s confident he can make it in the world’s best league.

“If I weren’t sure, I wouldn’t come here,” Buchnevich said through an interpreter earlier this summer.

It goes without saying that New York is desperate for him to pan out. The Rangers haven’t made a first-round pick since 2012, plus they traded Anthony Duclair. The result? Buchnevich is arguably the only real blue-chip prospect in the system, not counting goalie Igor Shestyorkin, who’s still a ways off and not particularly needed right now anyway.

Assuming Buchnevich makes the team out of camp, it remains to be seen where he’ll play. A left shot, he’s listed by the club as a left winger; however, the Rangers already have Rick Nash and Chris Kreider on that side. One guess has him on the right side of a line with Kreider and Derek Stepan, though that might be an optimistic projection out of the gate.

“We’re all aware that Pavel is going to need some time to make the transition,” said Chris Drury, the Rangers’ director of player development, per The New York Post. “But I think the world of him as a player and a person. The way he played against grown men and conducted himself in the KHL was extremely impressive.”

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