In a blockbuster deal, the Winnipeg Jets have traded winger Evander Kane and defenseman Zach Bogosian to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for defenseman Tyler Myers, winger Drew Stafford, prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and a first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wow! It’s rare to see such a major move made during the season in today’s salary-cap world, let alone so close to the March trade deadline. But this is a deal made under extraordinary circumstances. The Jets are battling for playoff contention and were keen to move Kane, who is sidelined by season-ending shoulder surgery following a recent rumored blow-up with his teammates. They wanted it done as soon as possible for a return which helps them now and in the future. The Sabres are out of playoff contention and undergoing a major roster overhaul. They were keen to bolster their offense. Looking at this deal, it appears one of those rare deals which helps both teams in the short- and long-term.
The Jets land a big defenseman in Myers, who some observers still believe could blossom into a potential Norris contender. He’s also signed through 2018-19, becoming part of the Jets long-term plans. Stafford is a former 30-goal scorer who can fill in for the now-departed Kane in the short term. He’s a UFA this summer so his future in Winnipeg could depend upon his performance over the rest of this season. Armia and Lemieux are of course the pieces to help the Jets long term. The first-round pick they receive will either be the Blues or Islanders pick, whichever is lowest in the first round.
Kane won’t help the Sabres this season but should be a key piece for their future. He’s signed through 2016-17 and reportedly is looking forward to a change by moving to Buffalo. If the Sabres land Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel in this year’s draft, Kane could form part of a lethal one-two offensive punch with either player for the Sabres. Bogosian is a good young defenseman who, like Myers, has struggled through injuries and consistency early in his career. He’s a solid top-four defenseman with top-two potential.
Time will tell which club ultimately “wins” this deal.In the short-term, both clubs win.