Just a month ago, rumors were circulating that the Buffalo Sabres new general manager Jason Botterill was considering trading goal-scoring wing Evander Kane, but wouldn’t make a decision until the team hired their new head coach. However, the general belief is held that while the controversial star forward put together a strong season for the Sabres this past year, he may not be in the team’s long-term plans as he has just one year remaining on his contract. However, despite that fact, Kane’s name has barely surfaced in the rumor mill this past month and he remains on the Sabres roster, looking more and more like he will stay there. In fact, TSN’s Darren Dreger recently said on a radio show that he envisions Kane being on the Sabres roster when the season starts.
The Hockey News’ Lyle Richardson writes that is likely the case, but it’s still too early to make that type of prediction. There are several teams that fell short of nabbing a big-name scorer this offseason and Kane’s name could begin to resurface as a possible trade acquisition for one of those franchises. Richardson cites two teams who could be likely possibilities, including the Anaheim Ducks and the San Jose Sharks. However, both have their detractors as well. The Ducks could use Kane and might be a perfect fit, but after the team lost Shea Theodore to the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft, they might not want to move another defenseman right now. The Sharks, who lost Patrick Marleau last week to Toronto, would be the perfect team to go after Kane, but might not have the defensive assets that Buffalo would be looking for. Other teams in the past have shown interest in Kane, and while a handful of free agent scorers still remain available on the market, those options are dwindling quickly.
However, it’s also quite possible, the team wants to see what exactly it has in the 25-year-old physical wing. The former fourth-overall pick in 2009, Kane has always had a tremendous amount of potential, but has rarely put together that big season. He only has one 30-goal season, back in the 2011-12 season with Winnipeg. However, last year’s 28-goal output was his second best season and it could have been even better, but Kane struggled at the start of the season, not scoring a goal until his 13th game of the year. Throw in several run-ins with the police and other legal troubles, there are a lot of questions surrounding him which might be undercutting his value. Perhaps, keeping him around and making a decision on him nearer to the trade deadline next year would make more sense and could provide a bigger payday than moving him now while many of those questions about him still linger.