Buffalo Sabres asking for a pick and prospect for Kane

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 9: Steve Mason
BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 9: Steve Mason /

The Buffalo Sabres trading away Evander Kane seems very likely to happen either before, or at the trade deadline. The forward can’t seem to escape the rumor mill, and the Swords look to be playing into it.

It’s been an all-you-can-ask-for season from Evander Kane. The 26-year-old’s 16 goals and 20 assists is far beyond what fans expected from him at the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign. The Buffalo Sabres as a team, however, haven’t been able to replicate the winger’s  solid performances.

As a result, Kane has been transitioned into more of an odd-man out on the team. It happens to decent players on awful teams. Contenders want to fill up their depth for a Stanley Cup run, while those players want to earn a championship before it’s too late.

Take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks from their recent dynasty years. The Hawks’ were pretty much active at every deadline, with acquisitions such as Antoine Vermette proving to be solid down the line. Even the second the Toronto Maple Leafs look to make it far in the postseason, reports suggest they’re after Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

It’s probably going to happen with Kane too, regardless of if fans want him to go or not. After a very poor season, Kane will likely move into free agency as his contract is set to expire. Buffalo is in a hard place; move Kane now for a return, or let him walk for almost nothing.

Buffalo Sabres
NEWARK, NJ – DECEMBER 29: Cory Schneider /

Buffalo seems to be sticking with the former, and recent speculation suggests Jason Botterill is after a pick and a prospect in return for Kane. The news comes from Kevin Kurz of The Athletic, sharing a report which originally came from Pierre LeBrun:

"He’s a pending UFA with a $5.25 million cap hit. Trading for him won’t be cheap – a first-round pick, prospect, and a conditional pick according to Pierre LeBrun."

The question has to be whether or not this return is enough for the Buffalo Sabres?

Several teams have had interest in Kane. The Kurz report notes the San Jose Sharks could be interested, and other squads such as the Winnipeg Jets, Blackhawks have shown a desire for Kane.

What’s common among those teams? They’re all near or around playoff contention. Those are the only teams that would probably call for the Vancouver native, and it makes the most sense.

Now transition back to the statements above. A conditional pick is guaranteed, but fans will not know what it is. Is it a bit greedy to ask for a third rounder or above? Maybe, but anything less would be a bit disappointing.

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Prospects with teams that are contending are usually a dime a dozen, especially those that have gone after the Stanley Cup for years. That makes the fringe teams; either those starting to contend or are on the edge of a playoff birth that much more targeted.

Fringe teams have spent the past few years rebuilding their squads for this moment. There’s going to be some leftover prospects that teams might think need more time to develop, and those are the players that might be involved in a deal.

There’s several teams that are in this position, which only makes the shortlist even smaller for the most realistic trade destinations.

And finally, the first-round pick is always desired. It would be nice to see the Sabres land two first-round picks in this draft. Rasmus Dahlin and Brady Tkachuk are lurking near the top, while other impressive steals could be awaiting as time goes on.

It won’t be the strongest of draft classes coming up, but it’s still common to build a team around the young players for the future.

The asking price overall seems fair and realistic. Buffalo can’t really ask for another player that’s as good as Kane in return, as contenders won’t want to give up their stars for another top talent.

Be prepared for a move around this kind of figure. Fans can only hope that either Kane hangs in there and resigns with Buffalo, or the Swords get a pretty sweet deal that can help them flip onto the next chapter.

Next: When will Casey Mittelstadt turn pro?

Would you be impressed if the return for Kane looked something like this? What are the chances that the Buffalo Sabres trade Kane by the deadline? Let us know in the comments section below.