Photo: Lisa Gansky
It’s been a long time coming.
After being scratched for the Vancouver game on February third, and amid rumors coming to light about his relationship with the rest of the team, Evander Kane of the Winnipeg Jets first opted for season ending shoulder surgery. Hours later, he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, along with defenceman Zach Bogosian, and goaltender Jason Kasdorf, for defenceman Tyler Myers, forwards Drew Stafford, Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux, and finally Buffalo’s latest first round draft pick in the 2015 entry draft.
Kane, 23, has played 361 NHL games over parts of six seasons after being drafted fourth overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009. He has 222 points (109G, 113A) in those games, and 385 PIM. There have been rumors that there were problems between him and other Winnipeg players in the locker room for a while now, and after the tracksuit incident this week, it appears to have been the final straw. Kane refused to play the game in Vancouver, and was recorded as a healthy scratch. He underwent the surgery over the weekend, and the recovery time is expected to be 4-6 months.
Bogosian, 24, was also a first round draft pick for the Thrashers, this time in 2008, going third overall. He’s played 393 NHL games over seven seasons, with 127 points (40G, 87A) and 325 PIM. He was a regular top four defenceman for Winnipeg.
Kasdorf, 22, was a sixth round pick for the Thrashers in 2011, and is currently playing for the RPI Engineers in the ECAC. He has played two games so far this season with a record of 1-1-0, and a GAA of 3.49.
Myers, 25, was a first round pick of the Sabres in 2008, twelfth overall. In six seasons with the Sabres, he’s played 365 games and collected 151 points (45G, 106A) and 256 PIM. In 2010, he won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie for that season, with 48 points in 82 games. He leads Sabres defencemen this season with 13 points.
Stafford, 29, was drafted 13th overall by the Sabres in 2004. In nine seasons, he’s played 563 games and collected 322 points (145G, 177A) and 327 PIM. He was third on the Sabres this season with 24 points.
Armia, 21, is currently with the Rochester Americans of the AHL, his second season there. Over 87 games, he’d collected 52 points (17G, 35A) and 69 PIM. He was drafted 16th overall by the Sabres in 2011. He’s expected to report to the St John’s Ice Caps, Winnipeg’s AHL team.
Lemieux, 18, was drafted 31st overall (second round) by the Sabres in the 2014 NHL draft. He’s currently in his third season with the OHL’s Barrie Colts, where he’s collected 117 points (68G, 49A) and 317 PIM in 153 games played.
It’s hard to tell so far how this trade is going to shake out. With Kane out until next season, the Sabres have given up two very good played in Myers and Stafford, for Zach Bogosian. Kane is a player with a lot of talent who has struggled in the locker room, and a change of scenery can only be good for him. It would be nice to see him succeed in Buffalo, and maybe he can bring some success to a team that’s been struggling at the bottom of the league for the last few seasons. Bogosian can only help shore up Buffalo’s blue line, especially with them losing Myers. Myers could be an excellent addition to Winnipeg. At 6’8, he’s big enough to fit in with the Jets’ hard and fast style, and could easily slot into the hole left by Bogosian. Only time will tell though, and hopefully Kane will be ready to go by the start of next season, and can make a difference in a new city.