Jets trade Evander Kane to Sabres in seven-player blockbuster
The Winnipeg Jets sent embattled left wing Evander Kane to the Buffalo Sabres in a seven-player trade on Wednesday, loading up in hopes of their first playoff run since moving from Atlanta.
The Jets received defenseman Tyler Myers, forwards Drew Stafford and Joel Armia, the rights to 2014 second round pick Brendan Lemieux and Buffalo's latest first-round pick in 2015.
"I'm excited about what this trade brings to our organization," said Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. "At the end of the day it is a big deal but we think it's something that's going to help us both in the short-term and really help us in the long-term."
Buffalo, the league's last place team, continues its rebuild by acquiring Kane, defenseman Zach Bogosian and college goaltender Jason Kasdorf. General manager Tim Murray first expressed interest in Kane last week once it became clear the player wanted out of Winnipeg.
Kane was a healthy scratch for the Jets game against his hometown Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 3. A few days later, the team announced Kane would have season-ending surgery on his left shoulder.
"In his mind, he probably wanted a more important role," said Sabres general manager Tim Murray. "He can be an important guy here. He's going to be a big part of any success we have here, I believe. He plays hard, he plays in traffic. He doesn't play a perimeter game. He plays the game right."
Kane is expected to be ready for training camp. The fourth overall draft pick in 2009 was Winnipeg's biggest trade chip. The 6-2, 195-pound winger had 10 goals and 12 points in 37 games this season.
Myers, 25, was the league's top rookie in 2010 and has played in 365 games for Buffalo since being drafted 12th overall in 2008. He's recorded 151 points in six seasons and is under contract through the 2018-19 season.
Stafford, 29, has scored 145 goals and 177 assists in nine seasons with the Sabres, and will allow Winnipeg to move Dustin Byfuglien back to his natural position of defense. He's an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Armia, Lemieux and the first-round pick can be assets for Winnipeg ahead of the March 12 trade deadline, or work as chips for their future.
Murray said he knew getting Kane would be expensive.
"Either you're in and you know you're going to play a big price, or you're out," Murray said. "As of today, we're in."
Buffalo offsets the loss of Myers with Bogosian, a six-foot-three defender with 40 goals and 87 points in 393 career games.
"It's not an easy thing to have to include someone like Zach," Cheveldayoff said. "I can't speak for him but I think it will be exciting for him. He's from upstate New York and I think it will be an opportunity for him to be part of a growing organization."
Bogosian is signed through the 2018-19 season, and Kane is under contract through 2017-18.
The Sabres are in the midst of a long rebuilding process after spending the past few seasons purging high-priced players and veterans. A year ago, they traded goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to St. Louis, and earlier in the season dealt leading scorer Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders.
Later Wednesday, the Sabres announced they traded goalies with Dallas, sending Jhonas Enroth to the Stars in exchange for Anders Lindback and a conditional third-round pick in 2016.
The team is instead building through the draft and could be in line for one of the top-two picks this June. And in Bogosian and Kane, Murray thinks he has pieces to keep the team out of the top end of the draft by next season.
"I believe in these two players," he said. "I think that they make us a better organization and a better team. We're going to be adding young guys as we go along, and they need the right people to follow. I think these two guys fix that."