Buffalo Acquires Evander Kane in 7-Player Blockbuster
Evander Kane’s end in Winnipeg was not an “if” anymore, it was a “when”. The way it happened, however, was not as many had expected. With numerous teams competing for his services for next season, including Washington, Vancouver, and Philadelphia, the Buffalo Sabres came to the forefront late Wednesday morning and acquired not only Kane, but his teammates Zach Bogosian in a deal. The blockbuster trade involved a first round pick from Buffalo, as well as seven players, all of whom were drafted by the teams that traded them today.
On Winnipeg’s side, they not only geared up for their playoff push in the deal, but they also acquired three solid pieces to build on their already bright future. Winnipeg acquired 6’8 defenseman Tyler Myers in the deal, who if paired up with Dustin Byfuglien will give any team nightmares come playoff time. Myers replaces the loss of Bogosian, and is still signed for five more years (including this year) at 5.5 million per.
Another player acquired by Winnipeg was Drew Stafford. Stafford leaves Buffalo after spending nine seasons there, the only NHL organization he has played for in his career. Stafford is having a decent year with 24 points in 50 games, but will help Winnipeg’s depth and gives them an extra forward to play with after Kane was ruled out for the year. The acquisition of Stafford also allows Dustin Byfuglien to move back to his preferred position, defense.
Outside of the first round pick, Winnipeg also got two prospects in the deal. Joel Armia was taken 16th overall by Buffalo in 2011 but has only played one NHL game in his career. Armia, 21, has 25 points in 33 AHL games this year, on pace to easily break his numbers from the previous year. Brendan Lemieux, 18, is also headed out of Buffalo, after being taken 31st overall in this past draft. Lemieux has 50 points in 46 OHL games for Barrie this year. Lemieux also has over 100 penalty minutes on the year (thanks, Claude).
Buffalo didn’t get the short end of the stick on this one however. The big fish of the deal, Evander Kane, went their way, and they also got the consistent defenseman Zach Bogosian. Both players have struggled with injuries over their careers, but both are under 25 years old, with Kane being 23 and Bogosian 24. Buffalo also acquired prospect goalie Jason Kasdorf from the Jets, who was stuck behind Eric Comrie and Michael Hutchinson in the pipeline.
Evander Kane was due out of Winnipeg. Taken fourth overall in 2009, Kane scored 30 goals in his third year in the league, but has failed to hit the 20 goal since then (although one season was the shortened 48 game one). Kane has struggled off ice all his career, most recently after wearing a sweatsuit to a team meeting and subsequently being healthy scratched in his hometown. He has also has had some problems with Dustin Byfuglien over the course of their time togetherness teammates.
Kane is an outstanding player, when he gives his all. He, Reinhart, and either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel will make up half of a lethal top six in due time, where Kane should have no problem eclipsing 30 goals again. A change in scenery is sometimes what a player needs, and Buffalo provides a fresh start for this young kid who can become a star in this league. Kane will start next season with Buffalo as he is out the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
Stay tuned for more updates through the trade deadline.