Jason Botterill

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A look at the potential suitors for Evander Kane


Evander Kane‘s time is apparently up in Buffalo.

And on the surface that seems kind of puzzling.

They have a clear asset that likes to score — and can score (because everyone likes to score) — seems invested in the team and the city and has no clear desire to move.

What more could a general manager want?

Apparently four pieces – draft picks and prospects, likely.

Jason Botterill may be asking the world, but as TSN’s Darren Dreger pointed out, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.

Still, it’s just a tad odd from a team that hasn’t drafted or developed all that well to be wanting more things they can use to struggle at drafting and developing. What happens if Alexander Nylander doesn’t pan out? Kane is a proven commodity that would like to see the Sabres grow.

Cap issues are certainly a concern, and it’s likely that Kane will command more than the current $5.25 million that he’s been earning since the days when he was with the Winnipeg Jets.

But you’d think a team looking to build around Jack Eichel would want to keep in place some pieces that make their young superstar better.


If Kane is to move at or before the trade deadline, he’s likely heading to a contender as a rental player.

For Kane, this would soften the blow of having to move away from a place he’s happy to be.

Kane has never played in an NHL playoff game before. And for a guy who’s enjoyed the spotlight over his career, he likely won’t have any qualms about playing on hockey’s biggest stage.

So who might be his potential suitors?

The easy guess here would be teams sitting in playoff spots that could use a shot of adrenaline in the scoring column.

Of the 16 teams currently occupying spots, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the San Jose Sharks are the lowest scoring with 126 goals for apiece this season.

The Blue Jackets are getting Vezina-caliber goaltending once again this season from Sergei Bobrovsky and San Jose remains one of the better defensive teams in the league after adopting the age-old policy that defense wins championships.

Whether or not those two teams are willing to make the kind of concessions that Botterill wants will depend, largely, on whether they can make a deep push and if they feel that time is now.

San Jose might even want to retain Kane’s services long-term if the fit is right.

Of the remaining 14 teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins will always be in the mix (even if they actually aren’t).

The Pens are right up against it on the cap and would have to dump something to make room, but it’s no secret they’d like to part ways with defenseman Ian Cole.

Perhaps the Los Angeles Kings would like to throw their hat in the ring.

The Kings are sitting on a six-game losing streak where they’ve scored very little and could use the shot in the arm to regain a playoff spot in a Pacific Division where it’s up for grabs.

Could Kane and the money phone make a splash in Vegas for a couple months? The Golden Knights have cap room, and if they’re going to turn into buyers ahead of their playoff push, Kane could boost an already high-scoring offense. But Vegas isn’t jeopardizing its future to meet Botterill’s demands.

Hell, it’s unlikely any of these teams meet that asking price. It simply needs to come down (perhaps a first-rounder and a prospect with a pick that has conditions strapped to it?).

Regardless of the return, the process will be interesting over the coming weeks.

Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

HOF columnist says Botterill tops Pens GM candidate list


The Pittsburgh Penguins search for a new general manager continues on and while the list of candidates is pretty well known at this point, but figuring out who has the edge for the job is tricky.

There’s not a lot of talk coming out of Pittsburgh about the direction things are headed as Penguins brass including Mario Lemieux, Joe Burkel, and David Morehouse are keeping mum.

All that means is there’s plenty of speculation to go around. Hall of Fame writer Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has about as much credibility as anyone regarding the team and he ranked the top five candidates for the position.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill was his top choice.

“Sometimes, the best answer is the most obvious one, and that might well be the case here. Botterill was Shero’s assistant and has handled every conceivable duty, from negotiating contracts to evaluating free agents, during five seasons in that role. He is regarded as one of the top young front-office talents in the league, and it’s a given that he will be a general manager sometime soon. There appears to be no good reason that it shouldn’t happen now. Here.”

As for the rest of his top five, Lightning assistant GM Julien BriseBois came in second, Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton was third, NBC Sports’ Pierre McGuire fourth, and fellow Pens assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald fifth.

The common thread with that group is none of them have been in the top GM position before. All five are or have been assistant GMs. Pittsburgh looking for some new blood at the executive ranks may seem like a curious move, but a fresh set of eyes can do a lot of good.

So… Who replaces McPhee in Washington?


Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis (pictured) has some big decisions to make now that he’s not bringing back now former general manager George McPhee.

Finding a new GM is something the Capitals haven’t had to do since 1997 when McPhee was brought in and, fortunately for Leonsis, there are a lot of qualified people to choose from.

CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley ran down a list of names that immediately jumped to mind. Gormley’s list includes some names that came up during the Buffalo Sabres’ search for a new GM including Boston Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning and Nashville Predators assistant GM Paul Fenton. Former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis is a curious name as is Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Julien Brisebois.

We ran down a list of other names when we took a look at who might be up for the Canucks GM position. Ones that stand out there include Canucks “capologist” Laurence Gilman, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM Jason Botterill, and San Jose Sharks assistant GM Joe Will.

One name to keep an eye on? Phoenix Coyotes assistant GM Brad Treliving. Treliving was also in on the Sabres job that ultimately went to Tim Murray and he along with Benning were virtual finalists for that position.

Don Maloney has done a great job with the Coyotes and Treliving’s experience working with him could provide the sort of blueprint Leonsis is looking for in Washington.

PHT Morning Skate: Hitchcock and Sutter took similar paths to success this year


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ken Hitchcock and Darryl Sutter might not have a lot of similarities, but how they each got to the playoffs this year is one of them. (Post-Dispatch)

Steve Simmons writes that while the game changes over time, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello stays the same. (Toronto Sun)

The Blues’ solution to getting back in their series with L.A.? Playing better. If only I’d thought of that! (Post-Dispatch)

Alfie Watch: Ottawa coach Paul MacLean says that no matter what Daniel Alfredsson decides to do, he’ll have some kind of job with the team regardless. (Senators Extra)

Bruins young prospects are ready to take the leap next season. Tyler Seguin being a year older and the potential arrival of Dougie Hamilton? Sign us up. (CSNNE.com)

In case you missed it: The Canadiens are tabbing Marc Bergevin to be their new general manager.

From the “no kidding” files: The Oilers are unlikely to trade the No. 1 overall pick. (Edmonton Journal)

Logan Couture’s left shoulder surgery was a success. (CSNBayArea.com)

You think Rick Nash or Roberto Luongo’s salary cap hit should keep interested teams away? Not a chance. (The Hockey News)

Panthers GM Dale Tallon couldn’t be more excited about the future of his team. (On Frozen Pond)

Former NHLer Jason Botterill wants current players to know concussions are no joke. His career ended because of them. (Winnipeg Sun)