Buffalo Sabres: Evander Kane embraces trade speculation

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 01: Evander Kane
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 01: Evander Kane /

Despite all the uncertainty surrounding Evander Kane’s future with the Buffalo Sabres, he has learned to just enjoy the whole process.

Friday night represented a rare occasion for the Buffalo Sabres this season as they picked up two points, courtesy of a 3-1 win over the equally poor Edmonton Oilers. Less rare was Evander Kane‘s positive impact, courtesy of assists on two of the Sabres’ goals.

As of Saturday morning, Kane leads the Buffalo Sabres in goals and overall points. Whether he can keep up his current level of consistency remains to be seen, but he is well on his way to establishing career highs at the NHL level in goals, assists and total points.

As a result, the speculation surrounding the 26-year-old’s future has only intensified. He is set to become a free agent after this season, meaning the Sabres really need to trade him or agree a new long-term deal, before Feb. 26.

A lot of people may well be surprised Kane has been able to play so well, with the uncertainty surrounding his future. In fairness to him though, he’s used to dealing with speculation, albeit usually under more controversial circumstances.

As such, the winger’s response when asked how he blocks out trade rumors, made a lot of sense. During an interview with Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, he said:

"“You know what? I’m not necessarily trying to block it out, I just don’t focus on it. It’s not going to do you any good or help your case or your team. For me, I just embrace it. I enjoy it. It’s something that you have to be aware of.”"

It helps that Kane enjoys playing in Western New York and hasn’t asked to leave. This is a significant difference to his time in Winnipeg, where he admits he asked to be traded on several occasions.

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Of course, this still doesn’t clear up what the future looks like for the 2009 fourth overall draft pick. However, it does allude to him being more open to signing a long-term extension, to stay in Buffalo.

In this respect, TSN‘s Darren Dreger indicates general manager Jason Botterill is in no hurry to get rid of Kane, despite advising there will be a lot of interest in him. Appearing recently on TSN 1290, Dreger said:

"“My understanding is that he and Phil Housley, the coach now of the Sabres, have a pretty good bond developing there. They connected relatively early.”"

If true, it will be interesting to see how this impacts any negotiations over a potential new deal. The belief is the Sabres will be unable to meet Kane’s contract demands, but maybe he will consider a discount to remain where he is happy for the first time in his professional career.

With so many scenarios being thrown around, you figure it will be some time before we can paint a clearer picture. Just don’t expect it to impact Kane negatively, as he continues to thrive and produce a masterpiece of a season.

Next: 3 players Sabres should trade for

How do you think this whole saga will play out? Will Kane remain in Buffalo or end up somewhere else, whether it be this season or next? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.