Revisiting the Buchnevich Trade Debate into the Offseason

With the Blues' offseason now well underway, it may be time to revisit a glaring question that came up in the final month and a half of the regular season - where is Pavel Buchnevich headed?
St Louis Blues v Anaheim Ducks
St Louis Blues v Anaheim Ducks / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

He was arguably the biggest name floated around at the 2024 NHL trade deadline, and for now, is staying one more year in St. Louis thanks to a modified no trade clause, which allows a player to specify which teams they want to or don't want to be traded to. But after 2024/25, 29-year-old Pavel Buchnevich may once again be put up for auction by the Blues for the league's other buyers interested in one of the NHL's premierly underrated goalscorers. The only question is, who? Or more specifically, who does Buchnevich want to play for if a new Blues contract isn't inked before July 1, 2025?

Seattle Kraken

This season was a stark contrast to the Kraken's Cinderella run in 2022/23, as they missed the playoffs after finishing 6th in the Pacific Division and at least 17 points out of the final Western Conference berth. One contribution to that was their noted lack of both offense and defense. With a -19 goal differential, 25th in the league, Seattle may find themselves in partial rebuild mode this summer, and they could at least fix some things by picking up Buchnevich, whose 27 goals and 36 assists for 63 points this season would help a goal shy team amp up the scoring pace a bit. This would especially be a good move since only one Kraken player, Jared McCann, had higher numbers in those categories for Seattle this year (29 goals, 33 assists, 62 points).

Philadelphia Flyers

Unlike Seattle, Philadelphia is a team that will have to do a little extra work if they want Buchnevich, and in more ways than one. First, freeing up some salary cap space might be in order. It'll be a tough order, seeing as they have the least amount of cap space of any team in the league heading into 2024/25. They might have to let some key players slide or modify those contracts if they want a guy like Buchnevich, who, given his goal-scoring prowess, could be more than the Flyers can chew. The other thing is literally just playing better, which means trying to avoid crunch time collapses, and that's exactly why the Flyers fell a hair short of the playoffs. Pulling your goaltender in a tied must-win game doesn't help either, but that's another story.

Buffalo Sabres

This is a team that has the talent but can't finish the regular season well enough. You'd think that with players like Tage Thompson, Rasmus Dahlin, Dylan Cozens, and other superstar youngsters, the Sabres would've finally snapped their 13-year playoff drought. In 2024/25, the pressure on them will be unprecedented. And picking up Buchnevich may be the longtime missing piece that they need. They've got the cap space, 12th highest in the league, and like the others in this list, have to make a strong effort both this season and at the offer table.

Other teams interested in Buchnevich include the New York Rangers, probably so they can try a take-two with the 29-year-old Russian after sending him to St. Louis in 2021. Los Angeles is another candidate, and they're looking to solve their biggest problem, which is what Seattle needs. The Kings and Kraken need a warranted goalscorer, and if it hasn't already been said enough, Buchnevich fits that bill almost to a T.