Buffalo Sabres: Will Evander Kane actually be traded?

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 29: Evander Kane
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 29: Evander Kane /

Despite at least eight teams being reportedly interested in Evander Kane, will the Buffalo Sabres actually move the winger before the Feb. 26 trade deadline?

The clock is ticking on Evander Kane‘s time with the Buffalo Sabres. With his apparent refusal to sign a contract extension, the only question is how long he has left in Western New York?

The long-standing assumption was Kane would be gone before Feb. 26, rather than remaining for the rest of this season. However, here we are just five days away from the trade deadline and he is still a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

The mercurial winger was on fire before the New Year, with 34 points (15 goals & 19 assists) in 37 games. He was displaying his talents on a consistent basis, showcasing to the rest of the league what he was capable of; especially when he stayed out of trouble.

However, the calendar turned to a new year and since then, Kane just hasn’t been the same. He has just five points in his last 23 games and that includes a goal in his most recent appearance, against the Washington Capitals.

As a result, is it possible teams have now been turned off from trading for the 26-year-old? Or are they just thinking it would be better to wait until after the season, when he is a free agent?

According to The Athletic‘s Craig Custance, the interest is still there. Speaking to WGR 550‘s Howard Simon on Monday, Custance said:

"“When I’ve had conversations with people in Buffalo, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of concern. I think part of it is because they felt there is enough demand there. There’s not like it’s was just one team that was pushing for him. We’re talking eight-10 teams that have shown interest in Evander Kane.”"

Now, we appreciate interest doesn’t actually mean Kane is definitely going to be moved by the traded deadline. In a lot of instances, it is just a case of a team performing their due diligence.

However, you have to believe there are teams out there that genuinely want to add the 2009 fourth overall draft pick. His talent is beyond doubt and he could be just the player to take a fringe playoff contender to that next level.

Even taking into account Kane’s recent slump, he’s still well on course to have the second-most points of his career. He is also showing increased durability, which should see him set a new personal best for games played in a season.

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Of course, there will still be question marks about the Vancouver, British Columbia native’s propensity to find trouble, despite his recent good behavior. In truth, this will always loom over him, no matter how long he goes without causing any problems.

For what it’s worth, you can never question Kane’s commitment when he’s actually on the ice. He practices hard and has an excellent work ethic.

Ultimately, the main reason the 26-year-old would not be moved before the trade deadline, is down to whatever the Sabres are demanding in exchange. Nothing official is out there, but speculation indicates the Swords want a first round draft pick and a top-level prospect, if not more.

In theory, we know Kane is worth it. However, it’s conceivable teams will not want to risk the price for essentially a few months, with no guarantee he would agree to a contract extension after this season.

Next: Sabres working hard to trade Josh Gorges

What’s your prediction with the deadline nearly here? Will Kane be traded, or stay with the Buffalo Sabres for the remainder of this season? Share your thoughts in the comments section.