The Sabres and Jets were the talk of the NHL yesterday, following the blockbuster trade that sent Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a first-round pick to Winnipeg in exchange for Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian. Here's a look at some of the reactions, which have been pretty split.
But first and foremost, after talking to Sabres general manager Tim Murray, Kane sees the opportunity that lies ahead next season after he recovers from his shoulder surgery.
"Once I talked to Tim and talked to my agent [Craig Oster of Newport Sports], there's a lot of excitement for the future in Buffalo," Kane said. "Just looking at next year, they're going to get a top pick and that's exciting. Just to have one of those two guys maybe to play with next year, plus the other young players on that team. The sense I got from Buffalo is that, yes they're rebuilding but they're not going to sit around and wait. They're looking to do something now. It's nice to go somewhere where you feel wanted and you feel that they want to put you in a situation to have success."
The old saying goes that the team that acquires the best player in the trade wins the trade, and if that's the case then by definition the Jets lost. Kane is the best player in this deal, hands down. That's not to say that that Evander shouldn't have been traded, as the glimpse into the room that PoMo clearly wasn't happy about showed a dressing room divided. But while Armia, Lemeiux and whoever gets taken with the 1st-rounder acquired, there's a decent chance that none of them will reach the heights that Kane has already achieved.
Getting back to Enroth, he has a slight edge in even strength save percentage this year, and slight edges in both 2013 and 2012. He is a good goalie. We have to keep games played in mind though. Over those past four years Enroth has only been in 103 games. 11 of those were in relief. We're talking about 92 starts over four years. Lehtonen has been in 229.
Bob McKenzie digested the trade on NBC Sports last night, declaring he believes the Jets are the real winners.
I can only imagine Cheveldayoff's initial reaction when Sabres GM Tim Murray called him up and offered everything but the moon for Kane and the inconsistent Zach Bogosian, who was part of an over-crowded Jets blue line.
Like that, two birds killed with one stone.
As trades go, this was The Natural.
AJ Jakubec, TSN 1200 host, said he wasn't surprised that Lemieux was part of a package, as Jakubec was told Lemieux would not sign.
Not surprised to see Brendan Lemieux involved in Kane/Myers blockbuster. His agent (Claude) told the Sabres Brendan wasn't signing in BUF.— AJ Jakubec (@AJonSports) February 11, 2015
It was the kind of trade with so many fascinating elements that experienced hockey people could look long and hard at it and come to complete opposite conclusions. There's a valid debate to be had about a winner and loser, and it's going to be a long time before we get anything close to a definitive answer.
Sabres captain Brian Gionta was the first to speak at the Sabres' media availability. He stressed the fact that there will be a clean slate for the much talked about Kane.
The Sabres get the edge because Kane comes with a higher ceiling than the pieces going to Winnipeg. The Jets could come out on top, but a lot of that rests on the uncertain development of prospects and the first-round pick. There is uncertainty with every player in the deal, with both sides hoping for better out of the Bogosian and Myers blueline swap, but for all the risk that Kane might present, he's established his place as an NHL scoring winger and landing that kind of talent is why the Sabres ought to be pleased to get a deal done for the disgruntled winger.
The odds of Connor McDavid shifting his hockey home 90 kilometres east from Erie to Buffalo next season just increased.
Sure, the Sabres entered play Wednesday in the basement of the NHL's standings, giving them a 20% shot at snapping up the top pick via the NHL draft lottery if the season ended today.
But by shaking up the hockey world by dealing defenceman Tyler Myers, forward Drew Stafford, prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and a 2015 first round pick to the Winnipeg Jets for injured forward Evander Kane and defenceman Zach Bogosian, Sabres general manager Tim Murray, while arguably landing the best player in the deal in Kane, also increased his chances of staying 30th.
It could be argued they don't have any core, at the moment. Not until their franchise player arrives in June, and the gaggle of talented prospects in their system fill in like planets around the Chosen Sun.
And yet GM Tim Murray saw the same opportunity that Dean Lombardi did when he acquired Carter and Richards: He was offered an established offensive player that had worn out his welcome with one team, and had the assets to trade for him.
Of course that raises a bunch of red flags, but he's still only 23 and you could chalk it up to immaturity.
Many feel Buffalo gave up too much to get these two. I wouldn't disagree with that, but the reason Buffalo stocked up on all the assets it did was so they could be ready and loaded when an opportunity like this came up.
I too am weary of the reports about Kane, but sometimes you just have to go for it. I haven't heard too many people criticize him on the ice.
Both the Stars and Ducks have endured their respective goaltending problems this season and could definitely find value in acquiring a goaltender who could slot in as a 1B when he's playing well. Even if both the Ducks and Stars were interested, I find it hard to imagine that Murray would have been able to rake either team over the coals for Enroth.
With that taken into consideration, netting an extra draft pick for a goalie who was likely not part of the team's future plans seems like a good decision on Murray's part. Not to mention there is the possibility of Murray signing Enroth as a free agent this summer. Obtaining another asset, as minimal as it may be, was the right decision in this case.
He's an awfully useful player even if he never progresses an iota, but one gets the sense of untapped potential still lingering there. This is a guy who was a dynamic power-play scorer in junior, though he hasn't shown it in the NHL yet; he's also a guy who was a pretty big even-strength scorer at 20 and presumably might find that touch again in the right situation.
He hails from Sweden, starting his professional career for Huddinge IK as a teenager in the 2004-05 season. He won a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics as a member of Team Sweden.