Buffalo Sabres: Evander Kane trade necessary but frustrating

BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 12: Evander Kane
BUFFALO, NY - DECEMBER 12: Evander Kane /

The Buffalo Sabres had little choice but to move Evander Kane. However, it doesn’t mean you have to be happy with the trade to San Jose.

In the lead-up to the trade deadline, there was all sorts of speculation about who the Buffalo Sabres would move. Josh GorgesBenoit Pouliot, Marco Scandella and even Ryan O’Rielly were mentioned as potential candidates to leave Western New York.

In the end, however, only one player was moved and it was the one who was always most likely to leave. As reported by TSN insider Pierre LeBrun, Evander Kane has been traded to the San Jose Sharks.

In return, LeBrun confirmed the Sabres received a 2019 conditional first round pick, Dan O’Reagan and a 2020 fourth round pick. If the Sharks don’t re-sign Kane after the season, the first round pick will become a second rounder.

In that respect, LeBrun’s TSN colleague Bob McKenzie added some interesting information. Apparently Kane will not be signing an extension at this stage, effectively making him a rental before becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer.

The Sabres arguably got a decent return for the polarizing player. Further, the reality is they had little choice but to move Kane, when it became clear he was not going to sign an extension.

However, it’s still okay not to be totally on board with the trade. After all, we are talking about a supremely talented player, who at least looked like he had finally learned how to stay out of trouble.

While Kane has always worked hard when he’s on the ice, he took his game to another level, especially earlier in this season. He had 34 points in his first 37 games of the campaign, putting him well on course for a career year.

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Since then, the 26-year-old has seen a significant drop in his production. Regardless, he remains a gifted individual, who can cause any team problems when he’s on his game.

And that is why it is frustrating to see Kane leave. The Sabres have had a tough season as their rebuild continues to drag on, and he was one of the few positives.

Further, if the Swords are to finally return to playoff contention, the 2009 fourth overall draft pick is the type of talent they need. Again though, we appreciate the team was backed into a corner, when he wouldn’t agree to a long-term deal.

In respect of O’Reagan, he played with Jack Eichel at Boston University, so there is some intrigue there. Fair or not though, you can’t compare a player with five points in 22 career NHL games to Kane.

We wish Kane all the best in his future endeavors and genuinely hope he can stay out of trouble. However, there will always be a case of what might have been in the coming seasons, if he’d stayed with the Buffalo Sabres.

Next: Who would Sabres draft with the top pick?

Would you have kept hold of Kane, just in case there was any chance he would stay in Buffalo past this season. Regardless, what is your take on the return the Sabres got for the mercurial winger? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.