With every passing game, Evander Kane is becoming more of a headache for the Buffalo Sabres, albeit this time for the right reasons.
Evander Kane is in the news again, but thankfully for the Buffalo Sabres, for once it’s a good thing. The mercurial winger scored twice on Saturday night, to help the Sabres beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1.
In the process, Kane has simultaneously increased his trade value and showed why the front office may now be reluctant to move him. What a contrast from the start of the season, when he was absent as a result of three cracked ribs and the Sabres were eager to get rid of him.
When the 25-year initially returned from his injury in November, his impact was minimal. In his first nine games back in the lineup, he was only able to contribute two assists.
However, since then, Kane has displayed the type of form which convinced the Sabres to trade for him in the first place. Including his two goals against the Leafs, he has 28 points in his last 34 games.
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As a result, the Vancouver, British Columbia native now leads the team with 18 goals. In addition, his 17 even strength goals are the most in the NHL, since December 1st, 2016.
And therein lies the dilemma – do you really want to trade a player who is currently in red-hot form? Yes, his increased value puts the Sabres in a stronger position, but do you then risk becoming weaker, by moving someone who may be finally living up to his undoubted potential?
Making the whole situation even more complicated, is the underlying question about Kane’s penchant for getting into trouble. Is he really a reformed character, or just someone on his best behavior until April, when his harassment and trespassing charges will be dropped, (relating to an incident in a downtown Buffalo bar last June)?
No doubt the front office has a huge headache to deal with, in trying to decide the best course of action. Adding to the intrigue surrounding this storyline, the Sabres are now within five points of a playoff spot, with 27 games remaining.
As for the 2008 WHL rookie of the year, he has no doubt why he’s been in such good form recently. Speaking to WGR550 and the rest of the media, he said: “Healthwise, this is probably the best I’ve felt in the last number of years in terms of staying healthy and having some games, and getting in a groove and not being held back by injuries.”
Jack Eichel played a crucial part, by assisting on both of Kane’s goals. Eichel appreciates what his teammate offers on the ice, as he told WGR550: “Kane brings a lot of speed, he gets into the forecheck, causes a lot of havoc, gives us a lot of room and goes to the net.
“He’s got a good finishing touch. We’re just trying to use each other, get pucks on the net and we were rewarded tonight.”
With so many aspects to consider, the Sabres will likely take it down to the wire, i.e. the March 1st trade deadline, before deciding what to do about Kane. Ultimately though, you get the feeling that no matter what direction they take, there will be some regret.
What would you do in the Sabres’ position? Would you look to move Kane while his stock is high, keep him until the end of the season or attempt to re-negotiate his contract? Share your thoughts in the comments section.