Buffalo Sabres

Sabres’ Kane: ‘I’m definitely glad to be moving on’

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Its been a crazy eight days for the newest member of the Buffalo Sabres.

It all began on Feb. 3 when Evander Kane was a healthy scratch as the Winnipeg Jets visited the Vancouver Canucks. It concluded Wednesday afternoon when the 23-year-old was dealt to Buffalo in a multi-player trade.

Speaking to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Kane says he’s looking forward to moving on.

“There’s definitely a lot more to it than some of the funny story lines that came out,” said Kane. “Sometimes you have to just let a story die and I guess that’s what we’ll do. But it was definitely disappointing with how everything shook out and some of the information was misconstrued, misleading, some of the facts kind of came out wrong or didn’t come out at all. That’s to be expected.

“But I’m definitely glad to be moving on and I’m going to have a fresh start with a new team. I’m looking forward to the future for sure.”

One of the things that rubbed Kane the wrong way is the notion he elected to have surgery on his shoulder when he could’ve waited until the season was over.

“I had it [shoulder injury] last year and it got worse over the last two months,” Kane said. “And actually, when they went in there to do the surgery, they found a hole in my shoulder as well and some other things they had to fix. It was a little more complicated than everyone thought at first, so it’s really good we got it fixed now.

“That some people thought I was having surgery just to end my season, that’s so not true. That’s the biggest thing I want to make clear.”

Kane said the pain reached a point last week where could no longer play through it.

“It’s just common sense that I would have wanted to play in my hometown in front of friends and family where I know everyone has tickets to the game,” said Kane, who played through a fracture ankle and a fractured hand this season. “Of course I would have wanted to. But unfortunately, it comes to a point where you just can’t do it anymore because of the things I was going through. I couldn’t do what I needed to do out there. It (his shoulder) would come out twice in a period, once a period, sometimes it wouldn’t come out. It was tough to judge and get a feel for it.”

In the second game following the All-Star Break, a loss in Philadelphia on Jan. 29, Kane’s shoulder problems worsened.

“It came out twice in the third period and it just became harder and harder to continue. It was getting worse. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where it would become possibly career-threatening or maybe not be able to recover fully.”

As for the tracksuit incident with teammate Dustin Byfuglien, Kane said he had no real issue with it.

“I’m actually one of the guys that doesn’t mind that kind of stuff, to be honest,” he said. “That’s kind of a funny part for me hearing all this. I’m a pretty tough guy mentally and physically. I think if people thought it was just about that, that’s fine. That gives me a pretty good laugh.”

Kane spent six seasons with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise scoring 109 goals and 222 points in 361 games.

He’s excited for the fresh start Buffalo presents.

“Once I talked to [Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray] and talked to my agent [Craig Oster of Newport Sports], there’s a lot of excitement for the future in Buffalo,” said Kane. “Just looking at next year, they’re going to get a top pick and that’s exciting. Just to have one of those two guys maybe to play with next year, plus the other young players on that team.

“The sense I got from Buffalo is that, yes they’re rebuilding but they’re not going to sit around and wait. They’re looking to do something now. It’s nice to go somewhere where you feel wanted and you feel that they want to put you in a situation to have success.”

Trade: Stars get new backup goalie, acquire Enroth from Sabres

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It seems like only yesterday we were talking about how the Dallas Stars’ poor goaltending was costing them valuable points in the standings.

Oh wait, it totally was! And today, they did something about it, acquiring Jhonas Enroth in a trade with Buffalo, as first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

The Sabres will receive goalie Anders Lindback and a conditional third-round pick (2016) in return.

Enroth is a pending unrestricted free agent with a .903 save percentage in 37 appearances for the Sabres this season.  While those numbers are far from great, they’re at least better than the ones belonging to Lindback (2-8-0, .875), who struggled mightily as Kari Lehtonen’s backup before he was dealt away.

“Jhonas is an extremely instinctive, experienced goaltender and head coach Lindy Ruff has a familiarity with his game,” said Dallas GM Jim Nill in a release.

“Going down the stretch, where we have five more back-to-back situations, it was important for us to have a game-tested goaltender to help balance the workload.”

Enroth could receive his first start for his new team soon, as the Stars have back-to-back games Friday and Saturday versus Florida and in Colorado, respectively.

Like Enroth, Lindback is also a pending UFA.

Related: Stars are concerned about backup Lindback

Can Myers realize ‘huge upside’? What does the future hold for Byfuglien?

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Tyler Myers was finally traded today. Nobody can say it was a shock, as he’d been rumored to be moving on from Buffalo for quite some time.

In Winnipeg, the former Calder Trophy winner will join a defense corps that’s significantly deeper, more experienced and — let’s face it — just a whole lot better than the one he left in Buffalo.

Though the Jets had to give up Zach Bogosian in the multi-player deal with the Sabres, they were still left with d-men Jacob Trouba, Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, and others.

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is confident that Myers will thrive in his new setting and believes the player has “huge upside.”

Time will tell whether Cheveldayoff is proven right. Myers, 25, has had his struggles with the Sabres. But then again, who hasn’t? In Winnipeg, he’ll have better teammates, he won’t have to play as much, and he’ll likely face easier competition.

Heck, right-shooting Myers may actually start on the Jets’ third pairing, with Trouba and Byfuglien playing the right side on the first two pairs.

Which brings us to Byfuglien. The plan for now is to move him back to defense, though that could change depending how the forward group, including new winger Drew Stafford, fares without him.

Long term, the future for Byfuglien in Winnipeg remains cloudy. The 29-year-old is signed through next season, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. Will the Jets have room to keep him? We ask that both in terms of actual bodies on the blue line as well as cap space.

Remember that the Jets also have highly touted d-man Josh Morrissey in the system, and Trouba, a Norris Trophy candidate in the making, can become a restricted free agent after next season. So, if Myers can realize his “huge upside,” it’s not hard to imagine the club trading Byfuglien before his contract expires, particularly if he’s intent on playing defense, the position he prefers.

Related: Sabres not worried about Evander Kane’s character

Sabres not worried about Kane’s character, says Murray

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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

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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?