TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported earlier on “Insider Trading” that the Vancouver Canucks are revisiting the idea of trading for Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane. McKenzie says that the two teams had discussions this summer, and with both off to a tough start in 2016-17, a shakeup may be in order.
The Vancouver native, who also played his junior hockey with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, might seem like a natural fit, but the efforts to acquire him raise many questions. The biggest of these questions – which still appears to be a question for the team itself – is the direction of the Vancouver Canucks. While team president Trevor Linden, GM Jim Benning and the rest of the Canucks brass are trying to build a contender, the opinion of most, including many of their own fans, is that Vancouver should instead be looking toward a rebuild. The team was predicted by many to be one of the worst in the league in 2016-17, and at 6-9-1, they have not done much to prove those pundits wrong. With a core that is already made up of 36-year-old twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, 31-year-old free agent acquisition Loui Eriksson, and 36-year-old goalie Ryan Miller, the Canucks should really be trying to move veteran pieces to get younger players and prospects. The Buffalo Sabres (5-6-4) are also hoping to get younger, as they are committed to a rebuild. Would trading youth for Kane be a wise decision for Vancouver?
Benning has made it known that he would like to add a big, rugged, scoring winger to his current squad, and the 25-year-old Kane fits the bill. But at what cost? The 6’2″, 211 lb. forward has yet to record a point this season and has not scored more than 20 goals in a season since 2011-2012. While a change of scenery may boost those numbers and investing in a project player with raw talent like Kane could be worth it, he is not a solution to any of Vancouver’s immediate problems. McKenzie believes that the Sabres would like to bolster their blue line if they were to trade Kane. Losing a player like Alex Edler in a deal for Kane would not help the “contender Canucks” and losing a player such as Troy Stecher would not help the “rebuild Canucks”.
The other issue to take into account is the ongoing legal and behavioral problems that Kane has. While he may be less prone to problems back in his hometown, Kane’s off-the-ice issues are well-documented. Even if Vancouver can find the perfect deal, one that doesn’t cost them too much youth or an impact defenseman, a distraction is the last thing that this team needs.
At this point, the trade chatter surrounding Kane has gone on for so long that it seems inevitable that he’s dealt out of Buffalo in the near future. McKenzie believes that Vancouver is the most likely destination, but that doesn’t mean that they are the right one. The ongoing issues with the NHL’s most intriguing franchise will continue to be something to watch for in the 2016-17 season.