I spoke to Buchnevich's agent, Todd Diamond of International Sports Advisors, back on December 18th. Things could have changed since then, but as of that time he claimed that the there were no actual contract negotiations going on. He didn't foresee them beginning anytime soon either.
"But obviously the Rangers are very interested in having him," Diamond said. Contract negotiations aside, Diamond pointed out another big obstacle to consider.
"He'll potentially be with the men's national team. They have a camp in March," Diamond said.
That camp is for the World Championships, which take place from May 1st through May 17th. While not a lock, it would seem very likely that Buchnevich is at least invited to the camp, and could very well make the team. Based on IIHF rules, Russia has priority on Buchnevich and would have to grant permission for him to forego the team and play in the Rangers' organization instead. The Rangers experienced a similar issue with Jesper Fast two years ago, as he was only able to play one game in the AHL before making the trip back to Europe to represent Sweden at the WC.
As for what it would take for Buchnevich to sign with the Rangers? One obstacle always feared is the money situation. Buchnevich would be signing an entry-level contract with the Rangers, meaning that the best possible deal Buchnevich could sign with the Rangers is, including bonuses, $1.2583 million annually for three years. An already good player like Buchnevich who will only get better could likely get more money from a team in the KHL. The limits of an entry-level contract do not seem to be much of a deterrent for Buchnevich, however.
"He already understands what those parameters are." Instead, it's going to be about where he is in his development and what the Rangers' plans are for him. "It's more... is he in the NHL? If we do sign, we have to see how he performs. But obviously the expectations are that he will be ready to play right away or very quickly." Still, Diamond and Buchnevich recognize that it's hard to negotiate on any certainty in regards to playing time now when so much can happen at any time to alter the makeup of the Rangers' roster.
"It's premature because many things can happen between now and then with respect to free agency and trades," Diamond said. "You can never rely on people saying, 'he's going to make our lineup,' because that's just reality." When asked about how much time Buchnevich would be willing to spend in Hartford, the Rangers' AHL affiliate, Diamond again reiterated that it was premature to discuss that. "We haven't gotten to that part of the process. When we start talking about the contract we will have those types of discussions."