While many expect the Sabres to deal Evander Kane between now and the trade deadline, the asking price is believed to be higher than the top rental players from the previous deadlines. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman has been told that Buffalo will be seeking a return higher than what Winnipeg received for Andrew Ladd in 2016 (Marko Dano, a first-round pick, and a conditional pick) and what the Coyotes got for Martin Hanzal and Ryan White (first, second, and fourth-round selections).
Kane’s production pace (12 goals and 12 assists through 27 games) vastly surpasses what Ladd and Hanzal did in the final year of their respective contracts so that level of an asking price will be justified. However, with teams being less and less willing to trade top draft picks now, it will be interesting to see what type of market GM Jason Botterill has to work with when it comes to trying to move his top scorer.
Friedman adds that Buffalo is telling teams that they can ask about any player not named Jack Eichel. He’s quick to note that this is not to be equated as the Sabres actively shopping everyone other than Eichel but they are prepared to listen to offers. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, as well as forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Sam Reinhart, would certainly generate a lot of interest and all three have at least four years of team control remaining so other teams should be more willing to part with key draft picks and youngsters than they might with a pending UFA like Kane.
With the Sabres sitting dead last in the NHL and a new coach and GM already in place from the summer, it appears that the next big change will have to be in terms of player personnel. As a result, Buffalo is going to be a team to watch for in the weeks ahead.