For the majority of the 2017-18 season there’s been just one name at the top of NHL trade lists: Evander Kane. All indications are that the Buffalo Sabres are open to trading the 26-year-old power forward, but they won’t give him away for free. The asking price is steep. As in, a roster player, a prospect and a 1st round pick. Ouch.
Regardless of how you feel about Kane the person, Kane the hockey player is red hot this season and could help almost any team in the league. Kane has 16 goals and 36 points in 46 games this season, on a underperforming Sabres squad. With Kane’s six-year, $31.5 million contract set to expire this upcoming offseason, he’ll hit unrestricted free-agency for the first time in his career. Where he winds up at that point is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime there’s no shortage of suitors lining up to acquire him prior to the NHL’s February 26th trade deadline.
According to Michael Pagnotta and The Fourth Period, Kane is drawing interest from the following teams:
St Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings
Wow… that’s nearly a DOZEN teams. There’s lots to unpack here, so let’s take a look at some potential trade packages.
In terms of which teams have the pieces necessary to make a deal, the Ducks, Bruins, Blues, Knights and Sharks look to be in the best shape, both in terms of tradeable assets and salary cap space.
The Ducks have two expendable assets in Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase up front with junior sensation Sam Steel waiting in the wings. All things considered, Kane just seems like a perfect fit with the Ducks, doesn’t he?
The Bruins have a trio of young forwards in Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen and Zach Senyshyn. The problem in Beantown is their lack of capspace. GM Don Sweeney will need to get creative if he wants to get serious on acquiring Kane.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong is reportedly aggressively pursuing trades right now, with Kane being his biggest target. Could they move prized prospect Klim Kostin in a deal for Kane? Or how about World Junior Championship star Jordan Kyrou?
Thanks to a fantasy 2017 NHL Entry Draft showing from GM George McPhee, the Golden Knights are well positioned to make a move at the deadline, even if no one predicted that they’d be deadline buyers. The team’s top three picks of Erik Brannstrom, Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki could all be appealing to a young, rebuilding team like the Sabres.
Finally, the Sharks boast several young forwards who could interest Sabres GM Jason Botterill, as well. Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc have both played big minutes in San Jose this season and look to be good, promising young players. On the back end, Dylan DeMelo and Joakim Ryan have pushed out veteran Paul Martin.
While there’s no surefire way of predicting where Kane will end up, it’s a safe bet to assume that he’ll have a new home come February 26th. The Sabres simply cannot afford to lose him for nothing and with such high interest on the trade market, he’s as good as gone. But where will he end up? And what will the return package be? Time will tell.