Buffalo Sabres star forward Evander Kane was undoubtedly going to be the biggest prize prior to the trade deadline this season no matter how he played, but his fantastic performance thus far has made him even more valuable.
While there are certainly a number of teams across the National Hockey League interested in acquiring Kane, even just as a star rental for a playoff run, one team now seems to be emerging as the favorite to get him.
The Pittsburgh Penguins made a pair of trades earlier in the week, and Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman believes that he may have another very big move in mind to once again push for a Stanley Cup Championship.
“It’s interesting. I do think that Jim Rutherford is a guy who has talked before many times about he doesn’t like waiting until the deadline," said Friedman as per Fanrag Sports. "He likes to go early, right. I think he’s going to do something. I do think Pittsburgh right now is the team to watch.
“He made a couple of small moves this week. But I do think we’re getting to the point sooner rather than later when Jim Rutherford goes out and says, ‘Alright, this is what we’re doing to win our third consecutive Stanley Cup.’ And I wouldn’t be surprised if Kane was a guy on their radar.”
The Penguins general manager has never shied away from the big trade and considering his recent track record, back to back Stanley Cup Championships, it seems reasonable to think that he would look to hit another home run.
It won't come cheap however, rumor has it that Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is looking for at minimum a first round pick, and NHL reading player and a prospect. That being said it sounds like Rutherford is on the verge of doing something huge.
“I think the hammer is going to drop there,” said Friedman earlier this week.
Evander Kane has 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points in 34 games this season, even more impressive when you consider how much his team has struggled as a group. Needless to say any team making acquiring him would be doing so with the expectation of greatly increasing their chances to win a cup.