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My take on David Staples' column regarding the Oilers and Pavel Buchnevich

July 16, 2019, 11:07 AM ET [146 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal wrote today “Pavel Buchnevich of the New York Rangers on the block. Should the Edmonton Oilers bite?” His column was based on Brett Cyrgalis column last weekend (see below) in which Buch was mentioned as a possible trade candidate. All of this speculation will continue until at a minimum until all the Rangers’ RFAs are signed and the buyout period has passed. After that, the situation is dependent on if New York is cap compliant.

Cyrgalis wrote: ““(Rangers GM) Jeff Gorton still has to figure out how he’s going to clear some cap space, and that includes deciding the future of power forward and team leader, Chris Kreider, who is going into the final year of his deal. Also on the trade block would be restricted free agent Pavel Buchnevich, as well as Vladislav Namestnikov.” I personally think Buchnevich is towards the bottom of who Gorton will move and he might only deal him if no other deals pan out to clear up cap room. Part of that may be the belief, like I had, that the last quarter of his season was more of what we should expect from Buchnevich moving forward. In addition, Buch’s future salary, figuring on a two-year deal, may be in the $3 million range. That savings would help but then the team would also be down a top-nine winger.

Staples wrote:
1. Oilers GM Ken Holland of the Oilers indicated in early July that his summer trading season isn’t done, that he still wants to bring in a 20-goal scoring winger and a third-line centre. The good news for Holland is that all kinds of National Hockey League teams are pressed up like never before against a hard-as-rock salary cap. Four or five of these teams are going to have shed a valuable forward for picks and prospects.

2. Near the top of that list of teams-in-tough is the New York Rangers. The Rangers already had to trade away third-line winger Jimmy Vesey for a third round pick. Buchnevich will likely cost more than that in a trade, as he’s a younger, better player than Vesey. But the Rangers aren’t in much of a position to bargain hard. They have about $7.0 million left in cap space this year, but have three expensive players to sign in Jacob Trouba, Anthony DeAngelo and Buchnevich. They also have to sign RFA Brendan Lemieux, whom I would love to see the Oilers offer sheet.

3. I’m no expert on Buchnevich’s game, but he’s got plenty of hardcore fans in New York and over the past two seasons he’s ranked 179th out of 450 NHL forwards in points scoring at even strength. He projects as a second line winger. He would certainly fill a need on the Oilers next year, and maybe for years to come.

4. One other rumour talked about often on Oilers talk radio shows is the possibility of Edmonton picking up Sam Bennett from the Calgary Flames, who are also in cap trouble.

5. I wonder if Jesse Puljujarvi might be part of the trade package for a Buchnevich, a Bennett, or some other player that a capped out team simply has to move in order to meet its cap commitments to retain more prized players.

My thoughts and questions for you:
That bit on Lemieux (see bolded above) scares me, because I could see others considering the same. Seeing where New York is cap wise, even anything in the range of what Buch will get might result in NY walking away because they just can’t fit him in. If an offer sheet is made before Buch is signed, which one would you prioritize?

If for some reason an offer on Lemieux came in at $4 million a year, would you walk away from matching it and take the second rounder? Where is the line of demarcation for you in terms of salary with Lemieux? Is $3 million acceptable but $4 million too rich for your blood in terms of an offer sheet or are both too rich in terms of matching? (Note: since Buchnevich and Trouba are going through arbitration, they are ineligible to receive/sign an offer sheets. Only Lemieux and ADA can sign offer sheets)

If New York was to make a trade with Edmonton, who would you want? To me, Puljujarvi is fine as a flier candidate but not remotely close to enough for Buchnevich, who has shown he can be productive. Puljujarvi, while taken way earlier in the draft, has yet to show that, though I believe we all think he hasn’t been used right. Would you want a young blueliner (other than Bouchard, as that’s not happening) or forward? Draft picks? Also, don’t count on dealing a player like Brendan Smith with Buchnevich to clear cap room, as Edmonton is up against the cap as well.

Looking forward to your answers

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