Tag: Buffalo Sabres

Evander Kane

Sabres not worried about Kane’s character, says Murray


Didn’t take long for Buffalo to address the biggest issue in acquiring Evander Kane.

“I made a trade for him, so I’m not worried about his character,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said on Wednesday, in the wake of his blockbuster trade that sent Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux to Winnipeg in exchange for Kane and Zach Bogosian.

“It wasn’t all unicorns and rainbows. All players have warts.”

True, but not many are as visible as Kane’s.

He was a lightning rod for controversy during his time in Winnipeg, and things reached their breaking point last week when he skipped a game in his hometown of Vancouver following an alleged altercation with teammate Dustin Byfuglien. Shortly thereafter, Kane opted for season-ending surgery on his injured shoulder, which many saw as him “sticking it” to the Jets — an accusation his agent shot down.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Craig Oster told Sportsnet’s FAN 590 radio. “I don’t think any person, let alone player, wants to have surgery. This isn’t an insignificant surgery. This is a significant surgery.

“We’re hopeful and assuming that it all goes well. But if it doesn’t, it’s a significant issue in Evander’s career. So there’s no impetus here for Evander to get surgery, other than completely health-related.”

The fact Oster had to defend such allegations was telling. Fairly or not, Kane’s reputation took a beating over the last few seasons and, subsequently, some the first questions asked of Murray were about whether Kane could fit into the Sabres’ room.

This could be where one of last summer’s key free agent acquisitions comes in, however, as Buffalo captain Brian Gionta sounds as though he’ll play a major role in welcoming Kane to the team:

At 36, Gionta’s experienced and has seen enough to know how to handle a variety of situations — remember, he was the captain in Montreal during the tumultuous 2011-12 campaign, in which the Habs came under fire for dismissing Jacques Martin and hiring a non-French-speaking head coach in Randy Cunneyworth.

But Gionta might not have all that much to do. The Sabres sound like they’re ready to make embrace Kane regardless of his past because, as Murray explained, such talent is hard to come by.

“I think [Kane] is one of the most dynamic players in the National Hockey League,” Murray said, per the Sabres’ website. “And you don’t get a chance to acquire people like that very often.”

Poll: Rush to a judgement and tell us who won the trade

Buffalo Sabres v Winnipeg Jets

Buffalo and Winnipeg pulled off a blockbuster deal on Wednesday, with the Jets sending Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to Buffalo in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, a pair of prospects and a first-round pick in 2015.

The trade happened an hour ago, which is about 45 minutes more than it takes to unilaterally declare the winner and loser. Hey, don’t blame me. You know how this works.

Anyway, here are some things to consider.

Why Buffalo won

• You could make the argument Kane was the best player in the deal and, as the old adage states, whoever gets the best player wins. Numerous teams across the NHL expressed major interest in getting Kane but Buffalo acted first and strongest; GM Tim Murray pounced on a situation where the Jets didn’t have much leverage and, as a result, obtained a dynamic, 23-year-old, goalscoring power forward with a good contract (signed through 2018 at $5.25 million per.)

• Kane’s out 4-6 months following shoulder surgery, which means he can’t improve Buffalo’s on-ice product in the present. That keeps the organization on track in the McEichel Derby.

• Buffalo shipped out Myers, who appeared to lack the mental and physical fortitude to be an elite, shut-down, No. 1 defenseman. In Bogosian, they get a physical blueliner that’s actually younger than Myers and under contract through 2019 (with a slightly smaller cap hit: $5.14M to Myers’ $5.5M).

Per Murray, the untouchable prospects were Sam Reinhart, Nikita Zadorov, Rasmus Ristolainen and Marcus Foligno. So he managed to retain all of them while moving Joel Armia (who was drafted under the Darcy Regier regime) and Brendan Lemieux, a second-round pick.

Why Winnipeg won

• They got Myers, who desperately needed a change of scenery and will be asked to do less in Winnipeg (which still has the likes of Dustin Byfuglien, Jacob Trouba and Tobias Enstrom on defense) than he did in Buffalo (which has one of the NHL’s weakest bluelines.) Myers was also highly coveted across the league.

• They ship out a distraction in Kane, who caused rifts in the dressing room and well-publicized issues with teammates. Could be addition by subtraction, to a certain degree.

• They actually added depth for their playoff run. Roster-wise, Myers is a straight swap for Bogosian and since Kane wasn’t going to play again this year, Drew Stafford — a three-time 20-goal scorer — is a nice get for the top-nine forward group.

•They added Armia and Lemieux to a prospect base that already boasts Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey and Nic Petan.

So…who won?

Blockbuster: Kane, Bogosian to Sabres; Myers, Stafford and more to Jets

Evander Kane

Well, it’s a biggie.

Though to be accurate, “biggie” doesn’t fully encapsulate what the Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets have pulled off — on Wednesday, the two sides completed a blockbuster deal, which looks like this:

To Buffalo: Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, Jason Kasdorf.

To Winnipeg: Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and 2015 first-round pick.

The biggest piece of the deal is Kane, the disgruntled power forward that all but shipped himself out of Winnipeg last week after failing to show up for a game against Vancouver following an (alleged) altercation with teammate Dustin Byfuglien.

A former 30-goal scorer, Kane is a tantalizing talent that comes with baggage — and a surgically repaired shoulder, one that will sideline him for the remainder of the regular season.

As for the rest of the principles:

• Bogosian, 24, will immediately become Buffalo’s top defenseman. Currently in the second of a seven-year, $36 million deal, the rugged blueliner — a New York native — will likely be employed in a “do-everything” role for the Sabres, which could see him get back to the offensive production he showed in 2011-12, when he posted a career-high 30 points in just 65 games played.

• Myers, 25, goes off the market after being one of the most sought-after deadline targets. The former Calder Trophy winner cuts an imposing figure — 6-foot-8, 227 pounds — and will give Winnipeg another physically imposing rearguard, along with the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Byfuglien.

• Stafford, 29, is a UFA at season’s end and will give Winnipeg some forward depth. A three-time 20-goal scorer, Stafford was Buffalo’s third-leading scorer this year (25 points in 50 games).

• Armia, 21, was Buffalo’s first-round pick (16th overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. A promising talent, the Finnish winger has played just one game at the NHL level this year but has looked good in AHL Rochester, scoring 10 goals and 25 points in 33 games.

• Lemieux, 18, is another intriguing prospect. The son of longtime NHLer Claude Lemieux, Brenden was taken 31st overall at the ’14 Draft and has been a big-time contributor for OHL Barrier this year, sitting second on the team in goals (with 35) while leading in PIM (with 120).

• Kasdorf, 22, was Winnipeg’s sixth-round pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. A goalie currently playing NCAA hockey at R.P.I., Kasdorf is 9-14-0 this season with a 2.94 GAA and .900 save percentage.

As for the first-round pick, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the one heading to Winnipeg is the lowest of Buffalo’s three at this year’s draft. The Sabres hold their own, along with the Islanders’ (from the Thomas Vanek-Matt Moulson trade) and the Blues’ (from the Ryan Miller trade).


Per the Buffalo news, the Sabres are retaining half of Stafford’s $4 million salary in the trade.

Report: Bruins targeting Columbus’ Atkinson

Cam Atkinson

Boston might have a cheaper solution in its search for a goalscoring winger, as ESPN reports the club has Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson on its radar.

Atkinson, 25, is hardly a household name but has been a solid contributor in Columbus over the last two seasons. A pending RFA with a $1.15 million cap hit, Atkinson scored a career-high 21 goals and 40 points last year and is averaging over 17 minutes a night this season (another career-high).

The Bruins have long been tied to Buffalo’s Chris Stewart, who carries a $4.15M hit, but Atkinson could be a better fit — in addition to being younger and cheaper than Stewart, he also has ties to the area, having spent three years at Boston College.

Ducks GM shoots down Myers trade rumors

Tyler Myers

If the Ducks are primed to make a move for Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers, it’s news to their general manager.

“The last time I talked to [Sabres GM] Tim Murray was at the GMs meeting in November,” Anaheim GM Bob Murray told ESPN Tuesday. “I have not had a discussion with him since.”

So…that’s that, then?

To be fair, there was good reason to suspect the Ducks were in on Myers. Earlier this month, a report from TVA’s Renaud Lavoie claimed Myers talks between Buffalo and Anaheim had “intensified.”

There’s also Anaheim’s well-known desire to add a physically imposing, shutdown defenseman that’s been missing since the Chris Pronger-led Cup team of ’07. This past offseason, Murray acknowledged a standout blueliner was the big difference between his team and the reigning champion Kings.

“You watch the Kings, for example, and you watch how Drew Doughty has emerged as a superstar,” Murray explained, per the Ducks’ website. “Do we have a defenseman who can be that way? When we won the Stanley Cup, we had Scotty and Chris [Pronger]. That’s in the back of my mind all the time.

“Where is that guy, can you find that guy, and can you afford that guy?”

Related: Video: ‘Keep an eye’ on Ducks, Predators at trade deadline, says McKenzie