Published by hockeybuzz.com, 1-15-2018
The NHL traded deadline is February 26, but with their fate pretty much sealed for this season, a bottom-dweller like the Buffalo Sabres, trade talks have been on-going for a while GM Jason Botterill reportedly fielding calls from contenders for weeks (or months.)
Buffalo's big trade chip is winger Evander Kane, a soon to be unrestricted free agent who happens to be having a career year. What's the market for a big, speedy 25-30 goal left winger who plays with an edge? Botterill is said to be looking for a first-rounder, a prospect and a conditional pick should Kane sign with the team he's traded to. Supply and demand will go a long way in dictating the return for Kane, but league-wide parity may help inch up the price.
Kane has been in the Eastern Conference these past three years, but the prototypical powerforward seems built for a more rugged Western Conference. And if you don't think they still cherish old-school hockey out west, look no further than the recent LA Kings/Anaheim Ducks games where the hatred is real as the two teams battle for Southern California dominance.
Although Kane may end up out west, word is that a team like the Pittsburgh Penguins might be interested in him as he does have the speed to play in a much faster Eastern Conference. After being on the outside looking in of a playoff position, the Pens are climbing back up and will be looking to make it three Stanley Cups in a row. Add in the fact that Botterill came from that organization (with three Cup rings) and it makes for a very interesting possibility.
Here are a handful of potential destinations for Kane (in no particular order,) where they are in the standings, their cap-space (from CapFriendly) and what they may have to offer the Sabres via the draft plus their top-three prospects (from NHL.com) who might be available.
Los Angeles Kings (3rd, Pacific Division)
--Projected cap-space: $3.3 million
--2018 draft: hold their own 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks.
--C, Gabe Vilardi (2017, 11th-overall)
Has great size (6'3", 201 lbs.) and great hands (29 goals in 49 games for Windsor (OHL) last season
--D, Paul LaDue (2012, 181st)
All-around, puck-moving d-man who saw some time on the Kings 2nd powerplay unit last season
--C, Jonny Brodzinski (2013, 148th)
Like LaDue, an NCAA product.
San Jose' Sharks (4th, Pacific Division)
--Projected cap-space: $5.4M
--2018 draft: 1st, no second or third
--F, Daniel O'Regan (2012, 138th)
O'Regan was Jack Eichel's wingman at Boston University in 2014-15. "Fearless player" lead all AHL rookies with 58 (25+38) points last season.
--F, Joshua Norris (2017, 19th)
Another NCAA product. Athletic, smart and a great skater
--D, Joakim Ryan (2012, 198th)
Has been making his way up the ranks since his Cornell U days. "Quiet but effective"
Anaheim Ducks (5th Pacific)
--Projected cap-space: $2.8M
--2018 draft: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, NJD 3rd
--D, Jacob Larsson (2015, 27tth)
Smooth-skating d-man who draws comparisons to fellow countryman and Ducks d-man, Hampus Lindholm
--C, Sam Steel (2016, 30th)
Highly skilled center who posted 131 pts (50-81) last year for Regina Pats (WHL)
--LW, Nic Kerdiles (2012, 36th)
Rugged, two-way player who's had some concussion issues since being drafted
Pittsburgh Penguins (4th, Metropolitan)
--Projected cap-space: $186K
--2018 draft: 1st, 2nd, no third
--RW, Daniel Sprong (2015, 46th)
Offensive winger with great shot could be next in the long line of young, inexpensive forwards who make big contributions to the club.
--F, Zachary Aston-Reese (2017 free agent)
Northeastern (NCAA) product scored 1.66/game his senior season, added eight points (3+5) in is first 10 pro games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
--G, Tristan Jarry (2013, 44th)
Putting up impressive numbers after getting the call to Pittsburgh with a 9-3-2 record, 2.33 goals-against average and .923 save percentage
Columbus Blue Jackets (2nd, Metropolitan)
--Projected cap-space: $5.5M
--2018 draft: 1st, 2nd, 3rd
--D, Gabriel Carlsson (2019, 29th)
Big (6'4" 192 lbs.) stay-at-home defender with a good first pass and a big shot from the point
--F, Vitaly Abramov (2016, 65th)
Big offense (18 goals and 33 assists in 32 QMJHL games this year) from a smallish player (5'9" 172 lbs.) Almost made Jackets out of camp this year.
--C, Sam Vigneault (2017 FA)
Hulking center (6'5" 203 lbs.) scored 10 game-winning goals in his 106-game career at Clarkson University