The St. Louis Blues are not having a great time right now. St. Louis is reeling after being dominated by the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in front of a national audience. It’s their fourth loss in their last six games. And it’s a loss that certainly doesn’t inspire confidence ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline.

St. Louis is still in contention for the Stanley Cup playoffs. In fact, they are only four points back of the Nashville Predators for the final playoff spot in the West. The loss to Detroit certainly stings, but it doesn’t have to be a backbreaker. They can bounce back and remain a contender.

However, such a loss inherently creates questions around the team. Can the Blues stand up to their Western Conference counterparts down the stretch? Teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Vancouver Canucks present real problems for St. Louis at the moment.

St. Louis has a lot to ponder over the next week and a half. They have six games between now and March 8, so there’s time for them to find clarity. Today, let’s take a look at the dream NHL Trade Deadline scenario for the St. Louis Blues this year.

The elephant in the room

St. Louis Blues left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) and goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) celebrate after the Blues defeated the New York Islanders at Enterprise Center.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

There is one major elephant in the room as it pertains to St. Louis and the trade deadline. Star forward Pavel Buchnevich has found his name in Blues trade rumors as of late. The 28-year-old has recorded 189 points in 191 games since a 2021 trade from the New York Rangers.

With the Blues in contention, it’d make little sense to trade Buchnevich. They have a shot to make the playoffs, and they’ll need the 28-year-old if they want to go far. However, there are some complications. First, St. Louis is in a retooling phase. Second, Buchnevich has just one year left on his deal after this season.

St. Louis has some questions to answer. First, are they a playoff team? If not, will missing the playoffs this year turn the retool into a rebuild? In any case, does Buchnevich want to be around for that process? If so, can the Blues actually afford to pay him what he wants?

These are all important questions they need to consider. Some questions may not need an immediate answer. But having some clarity on this situation will be important moving forward. And the overall decision of whether to trade Buchnevich could have a drastic effect.

The dream Blues scenario

The ideal scenario for St. Louis is keeping Buchnevich and going on another run. I believe St. Louis doesn’t want to trade the 28-year-old right now. Even though they could get a massive haul, they aren’t out of the playoffs just yet. Why not keep him and try to sneak in?

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As a result, St. Louis will need to address some of their needs. Their most pressing need is their forward depth. The team will be letting a few players go in the offseason. Forward Jakub Vrana is almost certain to leave, either via trade or in free agency. Kasperi Kapanen is another one who could be traded or allowed to walk this summer.

Thankfully for the Blues, they have options. San Jose Sharks forward Anthony Duclair could benefit from a change of scenery. He also brings valuable playoff experience with him. Duclair went to the Stanley Cup Final last season with the Florida Panthers. He is a free agent at the end of this season, though.

Another potential option is Edmonton Oilers forward Warren Foegele. The 27-year-old is having a career season for the Oilers this year. However, Edmonton is in a dollar-in, dollar-out situation. Furthermore, they desire an upgrade to their top-six. Foegele could be available despite the value he has provided this season.

Any way the Blues can upgrade their top-nine, they should look into it. It will allow them to make another run at the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2024. That, along with keeping Pavel Buchnevich, is the dream NHL Trade Deadline scenario for the Blues this season.