Updates on the Sabres & Red Wings – August 13, 2017
Another look at how the Detroit Red Wings can become salary-cap compliant plus the latest on Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane.
FANRAG SPORTS: Chris Nichols cited TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger’s Friday appearance on Buffalo’s WGR 550. Asked if there were any new trade rumors regarding Sabres left wing Evander Kane, Dreger said there wasn’t any necessarily any trade buzz about the 26-year-old, though things usually slow down at this time of year. He said he doesn’t know if Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is getting any calls on Kane.
Dreger said the assumption is a team in “win-now” mode would have the most interest in Kane. Those who’ve kicked the tires likely want to see how he starts this season. If he plays well, his trade value should improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. That will play a critical role in determining where he finishes the 2017-18 campaign. A strong effort on his part will certainly bolster his trade value but could also make the Sabres keen to retain him, depending of course on what he’s looking for in a new contract. If Kane is keen to test next summer’s free agent market and the Sabres are out of playoff contention by February, that’s when I think he’ll get dealt.
MLIVE.COM: During a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan explored several options the Detroit Red Wings face to get under the $75 million salary-cap ceiling for this season. The Wings currently sit over $3.9 million above the cap ceiling. While they’ll get some cap relief by placing sidelined winger Johan Franzen ($3.95 million cap hit) on long-term injury reserve, that won’t leave enough to re-sign restricted free agent Andreas Athanasiou.
Rather than trade a roster regular such as Darren Helm, Riley Sheahan or Mike Green to clear cap space, Khan suggested they could try to waive someone. Regarding Green, he carries a $6 million annual cap hit and is eligible next summer for UFA status, Khan speculated they won’t move him until the trade deadline if they’re out of the playoff picture by then. He notes Green is their only offensive presence on the blueline.
Moving Helm and his $3.85 million cap hit over the next four seasons could mean picking up part of that cap hit, which the Wings could be less inclined to do. If Ryan Sproul hasn’t recovered from his knee injury, he could be placed on LTIR to start the season. Barring that, Khan could see the Wings either trading or waiving him.
Khan also doesn’t see the Wings trying to boost their offense by pursuing UFA right wing Jaromir Jagr. If they can clear the cap space he sees them trying to bring back winger Thomas Vanek, but doubts either guy will be playing for Detroit. He doubts the Wings will be able to woo New York Islanders center John Tavares if he hits the open market next summer, believing he’d want to join a team on the upswing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings GM Ken Holland is expected to wait until September before taking whatever steps he has in mind to free up some cap room. Khan makes some interesting points regarding Green, Helm and Sheahan, though I wouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility of Sheahan getting dealt if push comes to shove. It’ll be interesting to see how Holland gets out of this fix.