Evander Kane Will Help Buffalo Sabres Succeed


As anyone with even merely a passing interest in pucks is now aware, Evander Kane is officially a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

With the old adage ‘go big or go home’ possibly in mind, Sabres General Manager Tim Murray cast his fishing rod into Lake Winnipeg and reeled in an enormous catch.

When I heard that Buffalo had managed to secure Kane’s services from the Winnipeg Jets I was ecstatic, up until I read the remainder of the paragraph. My initial reaction was that the Swords had given up a lot for a player that the Jets really had no choice but to trade.

But then I thought about it more, and decided to break the swap down into segments to better analyze all that was going west in exchange for Kane and defenseman Zach Bogosian.

Surely like countless others, my first thought was why did Buffalo need to include Brendan Lemieux in a deal that already contained 1st rounder Joel Armia and a 1st round pick in addition to former 1st round picks Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford? I concluded that the Sabres gave up one more piece than they likely should have.

But Murray had more time to consider making this trade than I had had to reflect upon it, so the question then became this: if I was Murray and this trade was presented to me, would I make it?

And I think the answer is yes. Even more so if there were any truth at all to the rumblings that Lemieux didn’t want to sign with Buffalo.

Ultimately though, the reason would be that Kane is simply too good a player to pass up. Especially, to me at least, after I finished deconstructing those pieces.

Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

– Tyler Myers: I liked Myers, but as many who regularly watch the Sabres can tell you he was overrated. Not in the sense that he isn’t a good player; he certainly is. Just more in the sense that the talent level of the Tyler Myers I was hearing about in all those trade rumors did not quite match the talent level of the Tyler Myers I’ve seen skating in Buffalo.

– Drew Stafford: Stafford was certainly gone at season’s end, anyway. And his absence will help Buffalo reach this season’s definitive goal. (As will Murray’s jettisoning of goaltender Jhonas Enroth a few hours later. But that’s a story for another article.)

– Joel Armia: Armia’s a top prospect who was going to get his chance in Buffalo next year, and who may turn into something good. However as the saying goes you have to give something to get something, and Kane’s already good…“Scary good!” If I may quote Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret.

– Brendan Lemieux: See above. And if it is true he didn’t want to be in Buffalo, then au revoir and adios. Besides, now every time I see him I won’t have to think of his dad, who arguably cost my Hartford Whalers a Stanley Cup back in the day. But I digress.

– 2015 First Rounder. (The lowest of either the St. Louis Blues or New York Islanders): Okay, now the quandary I have with this is twofold. If Murray was going to deal off the Blues or Isles pick, I was hoping he’d wait until the trade deadline to get a clearer picture of the standings. Yes, it is indeed unlikely that either will fall out of the playoffs and into the lottery. But as time goes by one tends to notice that very few of Life’s guidelines are more accurate than Murphy’s Law.

The second thing about the Sabres’ Isles and Blues 2015 draft picks, regardless of what trade they might’ve been used in, is that I was also hoping Murray would play up the value of the Sabres 2nd rounder as much as possible first.

That choice is almost certainly going to be #31 overall, the 1st pick in the very next round and the same slot from which the Sabres drafted Lemieux last year. Normally, I wouldn’t care much about the difference between the #31 and, say, #26 pick. But again, this is the Draft Buffalo’s been waiting on for quite some time. And, well…Murphy’s Law.

More from Sabre Noise

With the trade analysis out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.

There is not a Sabres fan across the land who hasn’t already thought several times about the prospect-nay, the reality-of watching Kane line up to the left of Jack Eichel when the first puck is dropped next season.

Kane can be dynamic. And now he’ll have a fresh start well away from all the nonsense in Manitoba. He’s coming to a hockey city with an outstanding fan base; one that’s been patiently awaiting a player with his tremendous skillset. Buffalo is primed and ready to cheer on the highlight-reel version of Kane it’s sure to get.

And those who still might be thinking we’ll be into the Roaring 20’s before the Sabres see another playoff game might want to think again.

Kane is here, and he’s soon to be joined by one of two “generational” superstars. Multiple 30 goal-scorer Matt Moulson is also here; biding his time until this sacrificial season is complete. All-Star Zemgus Girgensons is here.

Bogosian will step in for Myers. Buffalo’s two fantastic young blue-liners, Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, now have an NHL season of experience and will only be getting better than they already are.

Last year’s #2 overall pick Sam Reinhart may be ready for the bright lights of Buffalo in 2015, and 2012 #12 overall choice Mikhail Grigorenko will be up with the Sabres.

Buffalo still has a great prospect pool remaining from which to either draw or trade from, with several draft picks still to come. It has an owner with an endless supply of cash and long-term massive depth down the middle. Both will help recruit top quality wingers in the coming years.

Over the past few seasons the Sabres have been readying themselves for a long stretch of dominance.

Those who either haven’t been paying attention, or who simply won’t look past the standings to form their opinions, are apt to be quite surprised at what they’re shortly going to see out of the Sabres.

And Buffalo Kane’t wait.