With the trade deadline upon us, the Evander Kane saga is finally coming to an end. We have talked about trading him for the past year, and we even have talked about the chance of extending him in Buffalo. In a way, I’m sure many of you can’t wait for this to finally be over.
As a Sabres fan myself, this has been fun to talk about, but now that the time has come for Kane to move on, and it’s also been a very anxiety-ridden period. Any return on Kane will be important for building for the future. The Sabres originally acquired Kane (with Zach Bogosian) in the middle of the 2014-15 season for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux, and a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft which has turned out to be Jack Roslovic.
And that is a very interesting trade to look at today.
How Does the Kane Trade Look Today?
The Winnipeg Jets are one of the top teams in the league and sitting in first place in the Central Division. Tyler Myers is having the best year since his rookie season with six goals, 33 points, and is a +10. If I could have a mulligan on any Tim Murray trade, I still would have no issue acquiring Kane, but I could do without the Bogosian-Myers swap. That would be the breaking point for me if I could do it over again.
Joel Armia has not turned into the scorer many of us would have wanted in Buffalo, but in Winnipeg, he has emerged as a good bottom six, two way forward who can kill penalties. Armia has ten goals, 22 points on the year. The Jets also selected Jack Roslovic who is one of the organization’s top forward prospects. He has found his way onto the Jets roster and has eight points in 20 games in just twelve minutes of ice time a night. He was one of a handful of good solid prospects that were selected in the 21-25 range including Brock Boeser, Ilya Samsonov, and Travis Konecny.
The Sabres went into the 2015 draft with three draft picks between 21st overall, and 32nd overall. They also had prospects J.T Compher, and Nikita Zadorov. Now many people including myself, have no issue with the Ryan O’Reilly deal, given how stellar he has been as a Sabre, but the Sabres, I’m my opinion gave up too much quantity for both Evander Kane and Robin Lehner.
I could have especially done without the Lehner deal. I remember Botterill being a top GM candidate I wanted back in 2014 when Darcy Regier was fired, and often wonder today what the Sabres would look like if he was hired over Murray? Would he have burned through all the assets and prospects like Tim Murray did?
Now Jason Botterill has the task of trying to reclaim lost assets this time around when Kane is traded at the deadline, and that brings me to Bob McKenzie’s tweets that he posted last night on the subject:
”I don’t get the sense the teams who are interested in E Kane in BUF are same teams who were/are chasing Nash with NYR but Kane suitors will no doubt want to see what is potential yield on any Nash deal. SJ, ANA and, to lesser extent PHI, reportedly looking at E Kane.”
“Because PHI is playing so well, GM Ron Hextall may want to enhance his team’s chances of getting into playoffs/doing well, but he’s been hesitant to pay premium prices on a rental. Some of the other teams (not PHI) eyeing E Kane may be considering him possibly more than a rental.”
“BTW, when I said some teams looking at E Kane may see him as more than a rental, that doesn’t mean an extension is a given at all. Only that he’s not viewed as a just a disposable rental, that perhaps a longer-term fit may be possible later on if it works short term”
-Bob McKenzie, @TSNBobMcKenzie
Kane to the San Jose Sharks?
I’m not surprised to see San Jose or Anaheim in the mix if McKenzie is correct. If San Jose is the trade partner, I wonder if Danny O’Regan would be a player of interest for Buffalo? For Sabre fans, if you’re not familiar with O’Regan, he was a former Boston University teammate of Jack Eichel’s, as well as Evan Rodrigues. Could the trio be reunited? The 24-year-old O’Regan currently has 25 points in 31 games for the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL. He had four points in 19 NHL games this year, but only averaged ten minutes of ice time while up with the Sharks. In Buffalo, he would likely get a much bigger role.
San Jose also has a couple cap dump options to consider as well if the Sharks want to re-sign Kane, and/or make a push for a big free agent like John Tavares this summer. Mikkel Boedker, the speedy winger is 28 and has two years left at four million. However, Boedker has been hot of late, posting five goals, seven points, in his last seven games.
That streak began on February 13th and snapped a ten game goal scoring drought. Boedker had a dismal season last year but was a 50 point player two years ago. The biggest knock on Boedker has been his poor possession numbers, as he is a -2.0 CF% Rel in his career. Kane would be a major upgrade here from a possession standpoint. Boedker and O’Regan being included in a deal is just pure speculation and not an actual rumor. It would not surprise me if these were some of the pieces being tossed around.
Another option is veteran defenseman Paul Martin, the former partner of Brent Burns. He has one year remaining on his deal after this year. Buffalo could take on the final year of his deal if they were required to take on a cap dump and reclamation project, but again, this is just pure speculation on what it might take.
The Sharks also need center depth, especially with Joe Thornton out. The Sharks could use a third or fourth line center in a deal and maybe a player like Johan Larsson, or Zemgus Girgensens is of interest. The Sharks also have a 2018 first round pick, but no second or third rounders. They may be reluctant to move their 2018 first in a strong draft class.
Kane to the Philadelphia Flyers?
The Flyers are very interesting as well. They just landed their goaltender in Mrazek, and they now are in the midst of a five-game win streak. They are 9-0-1 in their last ten games and are right there with Pittsburgh and Washington in the division race. They have been playing very strong hockey of late, and could be a very tough out in the playoffs. Evander Kane could potentially get them over, but with the way Bob McKenzie seems to have worded his tweets, it seems like Philly might be more careful on giving up young assets that Jason Botterill might want in return.
Travis Sanheim or Samuel Morin might be what the Sabres want, but it does not mean Ron Hextall will actually part with them. If Philadelphia believes they can do some damage in the playoffs, then they may want to consider a big move as their counterpart in Pittsburgh just got even better while adding Derick Brassard.
Kane to the Anaheim Ducks?
As the Golden Knights have been running away with the Pacific Division, the Anaheim Ducks might consider loading up for the playoffs by adding more scoring just like the San Jose Sharks. Their defense isn’t as deep as it once was with Sami Vatanen and Shea Theodore off the roster, but the Ducks are still a very good defensive hockey club.
They need more scoring, and they have the pieces to make a big move. In terms of prospects, Sam Steel and Jacob Larsson might be untouchable for Anaheim, but they do have high-quality forward prospects in Max Jones, Troy Terry, and Kevin Roy (No relation to Derek Roy). I’d say Kevin Roy, and Marcus Pettersson could be most movable of their prospects.
Market Competition: Nash and Pacioretty
The Sabres will be certainly interested in the return for forwards Rick Nash, and Max Pacioretty if the Rangers or Canadiens make a deal first. Although there have been recent reports stating that Botterill was willing to come down on the price, I still think the Sabres can hopefully get a good return for Kane. The recent trades of Brassard and Michael Grabner have set some high and low-value points for teams shopping for forwards. I am not surprised at all with the return Brassard got being the top centerman on the market with one year remaining past next season and retained salary. Ironically, Brassard went for pieces that I’ve mentioned in the past for Penguins trade rumors with Filip Gustavsson, and Ian Cole. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for Evander Kane. I can’t imagine that the top scoring wingers on the market would do a lot worse.
Nick Kypreos said during the Headlines segment of Hockey Night in Canada that the L.A Kings are pushing to make a deal for Max Pacioretty. He believes that the Canadiens have inquired about some of the Kings young forwards such as Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli. I would not be surprised if the Habs were also inquiring about forward prospects Gabe Vilardi or Jaret Anderson-Dolan.
Timing may also be key at the trade deadline. If Rick Nash is indeed Boston bound, and if Pacioretty heads to Los Angeles, this could open up a potentially bigger market to Evander Kane depending on when they are dealt at the deadline. Maybe teams like St. Louis, Columbus, Minnesota, and Nashville get in on the Evander Kane sweepstakes.
It will be interesting to see how much Kane gets, and how much Botterill backs off on the price. Of course, those of you who want Evander Kane to stay in Buffalo, would you like to see the Sabres bring back Evander Kane in the offseason as a free agent?
Would You Trade For Evander Kane Again?
This poll is closed
I could do without certain parts of the deal
No, I’d rather keep the extra first, Myers, and Armia