Position: Left Wing
Weight: 198 lbs.
2014-15 Team: Winnipeg/Buffalo (kinda)
Acquired: Traded along with Zach Bogosian and Jason Kashdorf for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Brendan Lemieux, Joel Armia and a first round pick
Last year's ranking: N/A
If it wasn't deemed that Evander Kane had "character issues" he likely would never have been traded. The 24-year-old has already had a 30 goal season, and scored almost 20 in the lockout shortened season. He's never played with an elite center, spending much of his career alongside Olli Jokinen. Now, he'll likely play with either Ryan O'Reilly or Jack Eichel for the next few years. His production should only increase.
The Kane saga in Winnipeg this season was one that made national headlines. He reportedly wore a track suit to the arena, violating the team's dress code. Some believed he didn't need to undergo surgery, and criticized him for not playing through the injury. He eventually was moved to the Sabres along with Zach Bogosian for quite the haul. It was the perfect tank trade for the Sabres, as Kane wasn't able to play for the rest of the season due to his injury.
Kane is really a great fit for the blue collar Buffalo fanbase. He can score in bunches, and also plays with great energy and is very willing to drop the gloves. The idea that the Sabres should get bigger has hung around the franchise ever since Milan Lucic ran over Ryan Miller. However, the Sabres decided at the time the best way to go is to add more grinders. What makes teams like Anaheim and the Bruins successful isn't simply the size, it's having the size in combination with exceptional skill. Kane has that combination.
When it comes to putting together lines for the upcoming season, the traditional top line seems to be Kane-O'Reilly-Ennis. There are questions with his contract, as he's only signed through the next two seasons. If the Sabres show that they are set for the future, there's a good chance Kane will want to be a part of it.