With the impending trade of Evander Kane bound to occur at some point soon, there are many lamenting this coming event, and sounding out that the team should not trade it’s questionably best player this season.
The Sabres acquired Kane in that big trade with the Winnipeg Jets that saw Tyler Myers among others head up to the frozen tundra.
Since that trade, there has been a ton of debate as to who won it. There is an old adage that is often used in trades in any sport, that being that the team who gets the best player wins the trade. If we are to use this thought process, the Sabres probably were victorious. Kane certainly appears to be the best player in that trade hands-down, ahead of Zach Bogosian, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux, Drew Stafford, Jason Kasdorf and Myers.
Kane can, and will, add a ton of presence and scoring ability to any team that ends up getting him. He is quite possibly the premier power-forward in the NHL at this time.There are many clamoring for the team to sign him long-term, and not trade him.
Having said that, there are some major factors at work here that would force GM Jason Botterill’s hand whether he really wants to trade Kane or not.
Some forget that while a team may wish to re-sign a player and may make a good (or great) offer, the player must wish to stay with that club and be willing to re-sign and forego the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, better known as free agency.
We can only ponder what GM’s will ante up to get their hands on Kane come July 1, when free agency kicks in.
Does Kane even want to re-sign with the Sabres? That is a question that only he knows the answer to, but either way, it is not out of the question to think that the team could do the old “lets trade him, get a whack of prospects and/or picks in return, then re-sign him at no cost come July 1st”. The team could do this, if by chance they really want him back, or could afford him.
This opens the door for a debate that is more then worth pondering; can trading Kane actually make the team better by subtraction? While there is the obvious train of thought that losing Kane in a trade will hurt the team at least in the short-term, could we see something happen like in Colorado?
The Colorado Avalanche traded their No. 1 star, Matt Duchene to Ottawa, and suddenly they became one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
Now before you go laughing and thinking trading Kane will only hurt this team, lets look closer at Colorado’s trading of Duchene.
On November 5, 2017, while appearing in his 14th game of the season against the New York Islanders, Duchene was pulled from the ice and traded mid-game to the Ottawa Senators as the Avalanche made a three-team trade with Ottawa and the Nashville Predators.
The trade saw the Avalanche acquire Samuel Girard, Vladislav Kamenev, and a 2018 second-round pick from the Predators, as well as Andrew Hammond, Shane Bowers, and 2018 first and third-round picks from the Senators. The Predators acquired Kyle Turris from the Senators.
Suddenly, the Avalanche became one very good, or at least one very hot team. The team has played 30 games since the trade, and are at 15-15, or .500 hockey for that stretch, including an impressive seven-game winning streak they are on now.
Meanwhile, Nathan MacKinnon has come on during that 30-game tenure, scoring 17 goals and adding 25 assists for 42 points.
Ottawa has self-imploded since the trade, and Duchene looks lost, but it is still early and he should get more comfortable going forward.
So, can trading Kane have the same ripple effect on the Sabres? Could the trade actually help the team both the short and long run?
Releasing Matt Moulson clearly sent a message to the team, and they have been much better since that event.
GM Jason Botterill is in the hot seat, and must acquire significant assets in either NHL ready players, prospects and/or draft picks to satisfy the many who will no doubt be restless and voice their displeasure after the trade happens.
In the end, getting better by subtraction does happen more often the one would think. This Buffalo Sabres team seems to need some sort of wake-up call. Maybe when the big Kane trade comes down, we just might see the team improve to the point where we may clearly be called the big winners in that trade that brought Kane here in the first place.
Thanks for reading!