Many expected trades did not take place yesterday, during the notorious trade deadline, and others did. While the trade of the St. Louis Blues sending Paul Stastny to the Winnipeg Jets was a huge surprise on today's trade deadline, there was another shocker that has taken place. Or did not take place.
Jack Johnson, who had demanded that the Columbus Blue Jackets trade him before today, is still with the team. The Jackets have been very busy ahead of the National Hockey League's trade deadline, but did not pull the expected move... And then they were the Buffalo Sabres, who were expected to move top forward Evander Kane, and unhappy goalie Robin Lehner. While the latter is still with the club, Kane was finally moved in the last minutes of the deadline to the San Jose Sharks.
In the end, the Sabres settled for the San Jose Sharks' offer, which included a conditional first round pick in 2019, prospect forward Dany O'Regan, and a conditional fourth rounder in 2020. If the Sharks re-sign Kane, it's a first; but if Kane walks into free agency, it's a second-round pick in 2019.
O'Regan had recorded four assists in 19 games with the Sharks this season and 25 points in 31 contests with the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League. Last season, the German forward was named top rookie in the AHL after posting 23 goals and 58 points in 63 games.
However, two other Cup contenders came in very close to pull this blockbuster move before the Sharks managed to land the former first rounder. According to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks came very close to acquiring Kane before the Sharks did.
San Jose had been wanting to add firepower to solidify its playoff chances, as they currently sit in second place in the Pacific, they're just two points inside the division's top three and two inside the wild card spots. Kane is expected to join a line with Logan Couture.
"Evander is one of the top young power forwards in the NHL," Sharks GM Doug Wilson said in a statement released by the team. "He has a unique combination of size, grit, speed and goal-scoring ability.
"We wanted to add a player that could help this team but also was just hitting his prime."
The Flames were also looking to add a boost up front for a postseason run as they sit just out of the last wild card, tied at 73 points with the Los Angeles Kings.
As for the Anaheim Ducks, they seem to have been fighting for a playoff spot all season long, finally piling up the wins despite having to deal with many injuries throughout the year. Sitting in third place of the Pacific division, behind the Sharks, they were most likely hoping to edge them on the Kane sweepstakes.
San Jose never replaced forward Patrick Marleau after he left as a free agent last July for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and finally managed to add a top six forward to their roster. With centre Joe Thornton sidelined with a knee injury and the Sharks fighting for a playoff spot, Wilson did the best move and won big with Kane.
Too bad for the Flames and the Ducks... Close… but no deal for two Western rivals.