On February 11, 2015, the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets made a trade that changed the direction of both organizations. The Jets traded former 1st round picks Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to the Sabres, along with goaltending prospect Jason Kasdorf, while Buffalo dealt defenseman Tyler Myers, forward Drew Stafford, along with a 1st-round pick in 2015 and prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux.
For Buffalo, it was move made with the next season in mind with Kane undergoing shoulder surgery, leaving him sidelined remainder of that year. The Sabres finished with the worst overall record. Winnipeg finished 2014-15 season as a wild card team in the Western Conference but got swept in the opening round of the postseason.
In more than two years with the Sabres, Kane has scored 54 goals for 90 points, but has dealt with various injuries. This year, Kane has found success with linemates Jack Eichel and Jason Pominville. Together, they combine for 16 of the team’s 29 goals and are solidified as the team’s most effective line.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) October 8, 2017
Bogosian, also acquired in the trade, has dealt with injuries and been inconsistent in two-plus seasons. During his three seasons in Buffalo, he has scored nine goals for a total of 33 points. Bogosian has not played this season after suffering an injury. He remains week-to-week, but has shown signs of improvement according to Phil Housley.
After playing college hockey at R.P.I., Kasdorf signed his entry-level deal in March 2016. In his first pro season, he finished with five wins and a .877% save percentage in 31 games played for the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals. He also spent time with the Rochester Americans and finished 0-3 with a .828% save percentage. Now on the Cincinnati Cyclones roster, the new Sabres’ ECHL affiliate, he has not yet started a game this season.
Myers, Buffalo’s 1st-round pick in 2008, has scored 15 goals for 49 points as a member of the Jets. His production has been unimpressive this year being paired with former Sabre Dmitry Kulikov. That tandem however is a combined +12, signaling their positive play and chemistry.
Stafford, since being traded from Buffalo, has played for three different teams. While in Winnipeg between 2015-17, he scored 34 goals for 70 points, before being traded to the Bruins last season. This offseason, he signed a one-year contract with the New Jersey Devils. Stafford has been playing a majority of this season on a line with Taylor Hall and Nico Hischier.
Armia, the Sabres’ 1st-rounder in 2011, has played all but one game in Winnipeg, scoring 16 goals for 32 points. Lemieux, the Sabres’ first second-rounder in 2014, made his NHL debut this season on October 17 and scored his first career goal against the Penguins on October 29.
With the 1st-round pick the Jets received, they drafted Jack Roslovic, and after starting his pro career with Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate last season, he scored 13 goals for 48 points. In his sophomore season, he’s averaging nearly a point per game and has continued to show promise.
The Sabres have won the trade so far, due to Kane’s impressive results and what he brings to the team each night, but Bogosian has struggled to remain consistent. Despite the young prospects Winnipeg received, the team has not yet benefitted from them. Armia has not lived up to the hype, while Lemieux and Roslovic are currently unknown entities.
At the time it felt like Buffalo gave up a lot, but Kane’s play over the last two seasons has seemed to warrant the trade and will only help us going forward if he continues to play for the Sabres. The question now remains whether or not he will be extended by the team before July 1st. His long-term presence is the biggest determining factor as to which team truly “wins the trade”.