After Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane elected for surgery on an injury, which just happened to follow a run-in with teammates, the writing was on the wall; he had likely played his last game in a Winnipeg Jets uniform.
Of course, it’s generally bad practice to give up on young stars. Ask Boston fans if they miss Tyler Seguin, or Chicago fans what would have happened if the team traded Patrick Kane for all the alleged problems he had off the ice. Heck, even the aging Mike Ribeiro was bought out last year and he’s in the top-30 in NHL scoring this year.
All this is irrelevant now as a blockbuster trade between the Jets and Buffalo Sabres involving Kane was confirmed Wednesday by TSN’s Darren Dreger. Here are the specifics:
F – Evander Kane
D – Zach Bogosian
G – Jason Kasdorf
D – Tyler Myers
F – Drew Stafford
F – Joel Armia
F – Brendan Lemieux
First round draft pick (no, not the first overall pick this year)
A quick breadown of what each team is receiving.
Regardless of personal feelings about Kane, he’s a top line winger: in terms of goal scoring, the start to Kane’s career compares favorably to names like Phil Kessel and Patrick Kane. He’s a strong, gifted player who had apparently run his course in Winnipeg. For a team rebuilding like Buffalo is, acquiring a proven 23-year-old goal scorer is quite the accomplishment.
Bogosian hasn’t really fulfilled what he was supposed to be. Coming up in the Jets (then-Thrashers) system, Bogosian was pegged as a top pairing defenceman. Injuries have really limited him over the last four or five season, though, and he hasn’t quite performed as he was anticipated to. Even with that said, Bogosian’s cap hit isn’t prohibitive, and it’s not much of a concern for the Sabres at this point anyway. He’s still a useful defenceman, just not the top pairing guy he was supposed to be.
Kasdorf is an unsigned goaltender currently playing NCAA hockey in what appears to be his last season. He would have to sign with the team in the offseason or else he becomes a free agent.
It’s interesting Myers is involved in this trade, as both he and Bogosian were first round picks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Interestingly enough, both were drafted ahead of Erik Karlsson. Anyway, the point here is that Myers is no more of a prospect defenceman than Bogosian is at this point of their careers. Myers is a negative CorsiRelative on the Sabres this year, which means he’s been bad, even by Sabres measure. He and Bogosian seems to be a wash.
It’s no secret that Winnipeg’s bottom-six forward mix took a big hit when Kane was out of the lineup. Even with him in it, Chris Thorburn was playing a third line role. Stafford should help rebuild the bottom-six forwards for Winnipeg, and it should allow Dustin Byfuglien to return to the blue line if Winnipeg feels so inclined. In the right position, Stafford could return to 20-goal form in Winnipeg.
A first round pick in 2011, Armia has amassed 52 points in 87 career games in the American Hockey League. He still should be an NHLer at this point, but his production in the AHL hasn’t been exceptional, and he turns 22-years-old this Spring. A true NHL prospect should be doing better than a 50-point pace in his early 20s. He’s still a legitimate NHL prospect, though.
Lemieux was a second round pick for the Sabres in the 2014 Entry Draft. Still in the Ontario Hockey League, Lemieux turns 19 next month. His Hockey’s Future profile is here for those that want to read a bit more into him. I won’t even begin to speculate on the talent of a player I’ve never watched.
The first round pick that was included is rumored to be the Islanders pick from this year. All that really matters is that it’s not Buffalo’s own pick this year.
On the surface, it seems pretty obvious this is a move made by Winnipeg to bolster their forwards with Stafford, replace Bogosian with a similar defenceman, and hope one of the prospects works out. On the flipside, the Sabres get a Myers replacement, and Evander Kane is already a proven top line talent. As long as there aren’t any issues off the ice, this seems to be a good trade for both sides. Of course, as with any trade, only time will tell how this really works out.