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The Flooded Left Wing Market

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The trade market for top six left wingers has become an over-saturated market

NHL: Florida Panthers at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL trade deadline is three weeks from today. The first name that comes up in most conversations surrounding the Buffalo Sabres and the deadline is forward Evander Kane.

He’s arguably the top prize of the upcoming trade deadline and has been the number one guy for some time now. As we approach February 26, the market could be shifting against the Sabres.

With the New York Ranges appearing to enter the seller's side of the table and teams like the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens being unable to fix their season. We suddenly have a left-wing market that has a higher supply than actual demand.

The Field

While Kane’s name has been in the rumor mill for some time now. He’s been joined by other players like Canadiens Max Pacioretty, Oilers Patrick Maroon, Canucks Thomas Vanek and Senators Mike Hoffman.

Now, in the recent few days, we’ve seen other left wingers like Rangers forwards Rick Nash and Michael Grabner officially enter the trade market. Also, Coyotes forward Max Domi is reportedly available in trade discussions.

Then if you add in some other players who may available like Alex Galchenyuk and Zack Smith you’re up to 10 players at the left wing position who could be available to the buyers at the end of February.

The cold streak from Kane has also allowed the other available players in the field to close the gap in the goals and points categories. While the 26-year-old Sabres forward remains one of the youngest players to be available he no longer is the runaway top guy from a production standpoint.

Buyer’s Market

This isn’t the best scenario for the sellers and in particular the Sabres. It becomes more difficult to ask for a high return when other cheaper options are available that also are not a significant drop in production potential.

The big buyer teams right now in the forward market reportedly consist of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators and New Jersey Devils.

The Penguins may be in the discussion to acquire Kane, but the bigger need to make a long playoff run could be on the blue line. Pittsburgh doesn’t have a big issue filling the net. It’s keeping the puck out of their net that is the issue.

Blues and Predators are two clubs that make sense for Kane. However, in the last few weeks, the Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said he doesn’t believe he’ll be in the rental market. That could just be some smokescreen, but if it’s not the Blues may be more interested in players like Hoffman, Pacioretty, Smith and Domi. That could just be some smokescreen, but if it’s not the Blues may be more interested in players like Hoffman, Pacioretty, Smith and Domi.

Also, don’t forget the Blues do not have a first-round pick in the 2018 draft. That was traded as part of the Brayden Schenn deal at last year’s draft.

While the Predators are reportedly “all-in” on this season. With Mike Fisher returning from retirement, you have to wonder how much that changes David Poile’s desire to trade a lot of assets for one of the top forwards.

The Sabres may want to consider making a move sooner rather than later. The market on the left wing has the potential to see some more names get added to the trade list as clubs figure out where they belong in the discussion.

It also may be wise to prepare yourself that the rumored ask for Kane from a few weeks ago of a first round pick, prospect, roster player and conditional draft pick may be a less likely return by the day. Of course, never say never, but with how the current market is unfolding it doesn’t appear the Sabres will walk away four piece haul in a Kane deal.