Well, this one is pretty interesting. The Winnipeg Jets have traded troubled forward Evander Kane to Buffalo along with Zach Bogosian and goalie prospect Jason Kasdoff to the Sabres for a 1st round pick (not the one that could be number 1 overall in a few months), Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford (whose salary Buffalo will pay half of), and prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux. There is a lot to break down, but all in all, the Sabres and their fans should be pretty happy with this one. That being said, the Jets and their fans should feel pretty good about how their team did given the circumstances.
Let’s start off with the fact that Evander Kane has loads of talent and is 23. Generally speaking, those are the kinds of guys you wanna trade for — the kind who scored 30 goals at age 20 with just a 10.9% shooting percentage, meaning that he wasn’t just the beneficiary of awesome puck luck. Kane’s corsi numbers are always positive, and that should continue to get a little better with age, although scoring forwards usually peak between about 23 and 28, so he doesn’t have a whole ton of room to grow. But he’s still a 23 year old with talent who should only get better with a change of scenery. A great get for Buffalo.
Zach Bogosian is definitely a serviceable defenseman, but his presence in the trade won’t turn any heads. He’ll keep improving as he’s just 24, but he’ll never be a top pairing defenseman. His place in the trade is probably to counteract the fact that Tyler Myers is also in the trade, so the teams are swapping blueliners. But still, he’s an asset that Buffalo can use in a few years if they’re good, or they might be able to get a draft pick for him at some point. Jason Kasdoff is unlikely to ever see significant NHL ice time.
Lemieux and Armia are both highly touted prospects, the former of whom is 19 and the latter of whom is 21. Lemieux was drafted last year at number 31, and may make a few American Olympic teams in his day. Armia killed if for Finland in the WJC last year, and he projects to be a great scorer for years to come. No doubt, Buffalo had to give up a good deal to get Kane, as well as the 1st round pick.
But a great part of the trade for Buffalo was dumping Tyler Myers and his entire contract. Myers will still be clocking in at $5.5 million on the salary cap for the next 4 years after this one. Buffalo has some contracts that make me scratch my head, most notably Matt Moulson earning $5 million for the same time length, because it would make more sense for the Sabres to not have any money on their books long term. But Myers was the worst of all those contracts, because his corsi stats are so bad that I thought about not posting a link to them because they might blind you. Seriously, don’t look. The fact that Buffalo cleared him from their cap sheet is awesome for them, but it definitely meant that they would have to give up just a pick and a single prospect. The fact that both Armia and Lemieux are in the trade is probably due to Myers’ presence in the trade as well.
Winnipeg must really like the prospects, as well as the general idea of having young blood in the system for years to come, to take on Myers. They probably saw how he played in his rookie year and hope that they can salvage some of his ability, although he’ll never be worth that horrendous cap hit. But the Jets did a good job of getting 3 great future assets for a troubled forward who clearly had no time left in Winnipeg, and they only had to take on 1 liability for those 3 assets. The Jets did the best they could do with the hand they were dealt, but Buffalo should be quite happy that they got a guy with tons of potential and also dumped their worst cap clogger on the team.