Many NHL insiders have revealed in the last couple of weeks that Buffalo Sabres top forward Evander Kane is on the market - but his price is not cheap, that's for sure. A few days ago, Pierre LeBrun reported that the Sabres were looking for a higher price in return for Kane; up to four assets which include an NHL player, a first round draft pick, a prospect and a conditional draft pick.
While some rival clubs might be scared off by the escalating price, there is a now a major sign that reveals that Kane is actually done in Buffalo. According to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, there haven’t been any contract extension talks between the Sabres and the pending unrestricted free agent, leaving the 26-year-old winger expecting to be moved by the Feb. 26 trade deadline.
Kane did mention that he absolutely would’ve entertained negotiations with the Sabres on a new contract had they approached him and his agents. But as of now, and with the trade deadline fast approaching, no talks on the horizon.
"Does it surprise me? Well, I've said many times nothing really surprises me," Kane told The News. "This is all part of the business. Both sides. We're in different situations and I understand it all. One thing I've always said is that I've really really enjoyed my time here and will continue to do so for as long as I'm here. My focus is simply game to game, keeping the focus narrow."
"Of course I would have [entertain negotiations with the Sabres]. Absolutely," he added. "I've said from Day One I've really enjoyed the time here. For me, it's a place where I've grown to know more and more about Buffalo. It's been a real great experience for me. I'm just going to continue that until I get told something different."
Harrington reports the salary cap has become a major issue for the Sabres, especially now that Kane could move into the $7 million range on his next deal. Buffalo already has over $43 million invested in seven players, Jack Eichel, Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Okposo, Jason Pominville, Rasmus Ristolainen, Zack Bogosian and Marco Scandella for next season.
However, the salary cap issue does not seem to prevent the Sabres from informing rival interested clubs that they would be willing to pick up part of the winger’s remaining salary. Harrington speculates potential suitors could include “Pittsburgh, St. Louis, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Nashville and the New York Islanders.”
And Kane knows it's coming... For now, he continues to play hard while he waits for his phone to ring.
"I'm aware of what's going on. I stay fully aware of my situation even though I don't necessarily do a lot of reading," Kane said. "I'm in the loop. I don't think there's anybody in the loop more than myself and my agents."