Pre-trade deadline Q&A: Is Pavel Buchnevich an under-the-radar target for the Edmonton Oilers?

Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
4 months ago
Welcome back to my annual “one month from the trade deadline” Q&A!
I polled my followers on Twitter this week to get their thoughts and trade proposals looking at what the Edmonton Oilers could and should do ahead of the March 8th deadline.
Let’s dive into it.
I really like the sounds of this. Fabbro is an RFA at season’s end, making $2.5 million, and is stronger in his own zone than the offensive zone, and is just 25 years old. A cost-controlled, right-shot defenceman would fit the bill of what the Oilers are looking for, for sure. I like both Glass and Gurianov, but neither moves the needle much, if at all, on either end of the rink.
Looking at Nashville’s defence, I think Alexandre Carrier would be a better option based on the Oilers’ needs here. He’s also a right-shot and has four goals and 14 points in 46 games this year. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has Carrier as the No. 11 trade target on a new list that dropped Thursday, saying:
Carrier checks all the boxes when it comes to a trade deadline acquisition. He’s a rental who has been molded into a reliable, steady defender that can be a positive contributor at both ends of the ice, and he isn’t going to cost too much to add to your blueline.
Man, wouldn’t that be fun? Larsson’s got two years left on this deal and has a 10-team no-trade list, but I have a hard time thinking he would want to come back, no matter how you cut it. He had a hard time here with his dad dying, and he left for a reason. That being said, if there were a world where this deal could shake out, I would pass.
Warren Foegele has been a tremendous player for the Oilers over the last few years, providing great value on his contract. He’s also showing he can play in the Oilers’ top six, adding some versatility to this lineup. Tomas Tatar would be a nice bottom-six pickup, but he wouldn’t offset the loss of Foegele.
Not a bad proposal. Tarasenko remains an offence first player, who has little-to-no defence to speak of. He’s got 13 goals and 33 points in 45 games this year, playing middle six minutes. Tarasenko came in at No. 12 on Seravalli’s trade target list, and I think he would be a solid pickup. I’m not sure how interested the Senators would be in Broberg, give their abundance of left-shot defencemen already.
Here’s what Seravalli wrote:
We’re not entirely convinced the Senators want to move Tarasenko, who by the way owns a full “no-trade” clause. In what has been a disastrous season, sources say Tarasenko and Claude Giroux have been two important leading voices. They’ve been hugely beneficial to Ottawa’s younger guys mired in another lost season. Tarasenko has also produced above his pay rate. Sens GM Steve Staios admitted this week he hasn’t had discussions with Tarasenko on a contract. And even though he’s an easy UFA to cash in on, he’s not an absolute slam dunk to get traded.
A two-for-one! Honestly, both of these trades look pretty appealing for the Oilers. Don’t let anyone convince you that Tanev wouldn’t be an upgrade over Ceci, either, as I think the former’s game fits better alongside Darnell Nurse than the latter does. Ceci has been a great soldier for the Oilers, providing some solid results, but the truth is that he’s the weak link for the Oilers’ blueline.
There’s word that Calgary is looking for a second-round pick for Tanev, so Ceci and a draft pick would make sense. I know our prospect writer Bruce Curlock is high on Tulio as a bottom-six grinder for the Oilers down the road, so I would try and make this deal happen without having to move a prospect.
For Konecny, I don’t think you’re far off. My preference here would be for the Oilers to hold onto Foegele for the reasons mentioned above, but there doesn’t really seem to be any indication that the Flyers are hot on moving on from Konecny, either. It takes two to tango.
I’m going to reference Seravalli’s trade targets list here for this one, taking a look at a few players with term remaining.
First would be Flyers center Scott Laughton, who has two years left at a $3-million AAV. He’s been a consistent third-line contributor for most of his career, but his game has fallen to replacement level this season. What does he have going for him? He scored career-highs in goals (18), assists (25) and points (43) last year. He has good shot volume, and is scoring below expected, and it would be reasonable to expect him to rebound on a better team like the Oilers.
Another center Seravalli lists is the Blues’ Kevin Hayes, who has two years left on his deal at $3.57-million. Seravalli wrote that “If the Blues are willing to retain half on Hayes’ contract, they could net a significant asset, with Hayes only counting as $1.785 million on the books for the next two years.” He kills penalties, is on pace for 20 goals and 40 points, and is a solid middle-six contributor. He’s someone I’d have time for.
While this one would likely be more of an off-season discussion than an in-season one, how about Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras? With the Jamie Drysdale – Cutter Gauthier swap happening the other month, chatter started to pick up around Zegras, with some wondering if he could use a fresh start somewhere else. He’s 22 with two years left on a deal paying him $5.75-million and brings offensive punch, with some poor defensive play. Makes sense, given his age, but if he could transition to the wing, he would be electric in Edmonton.
Last one for this year’s Q&A, and a great question. Truth be told, I think the Oilers should target the best player available. Pavel Buchnevich is a really interesting name, and one I think would be a great target for the Oilers. He has a year left after this on his contract paying him $5.8 million, so some cap gymnastics would need to happen, as would making sure Edmonton isn’t on his 12-team no-trade list, but he has scored 17 goals and 39 points in 47 games this year. He came in at No. 9 on Seravalli’s list.
Here’s what Seravalli wrote:
The prevailing thought among rival GMs is that Armstrong might cash in on Buchnevich before having to give him the next big raise. Because Buchnevich has played himself into a longer-term deal in the $7.5 to $8 million range per season. In the meantime, he’s more valuable to a team for two playoff runs at just $5.8 million than he is the Blues.
What makes Buchnevich more appealing than some of these other options is how impactful he is on both sides of the ice. He’s an excellent contributor at both ends of the rink at even-strength, with offensive contributions 13 percent above league average, and defensive contributions eight percent above league average, according to Hockey Viz. Similarly, Jake Guentzel’s offensive impacts are 15 percent above league average, and defensive impacts at 13 percent below league average.
The cap gymnastics on this one would be difficult with Buchnevich’s AAV and remaining term, but boy — this would be an excellent pick up for the Oilers.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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