About those Evander Kane trade rumors…

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Evander Kane‘s name is in the air again, with TSN’s Bob McKenzie reporting that the Vancouver Canucks have been back sniffing around the Buffalo Sabres winger.

This is far from the first time the Canucks have been linked to Kane, but with Vancouver having all sorts of trouble scoring, it makes sense that the rumors have come to life again. Kane, 25, is a Vancouver native, and the Canucks have not exactly shot down the speculation that they’re interested, even after Kane got into trouble in June.

According to McKenzie, if the Sabres are going to trade Kane, they’d like to bolster their back end in the process. And that, interestingly enough, is an area where the Canucks have built up some depth. In fact, there was such a logjam in Vancouver at the beginning of the season that impressive rookie Troy Stecher was forced to start in the AHL, while fifth overall draft pick Olli Juolevi only played two preseason games before he was returned to junior.

So, would the Canucks trade Luca Sbisa for Kane? Yep, they would. But Sabres GM Tim Murray, after a millisecond of consideration, would probably say thanks but no thanks.

Would the Sabres take 23-year-old Ben Hutton for Kane? That’s a far better offer than Sbisa. Which is why Canucks GM Jim Benning would get pilloried by a large segment of his fan base if he made it.

The challenge, really, is how to value Kane. Because it’s not just his off-ice issues, which are certainly a factor. He’s also been injury-prone. And on top of everything else, he can become an unrestricted free agent in July of 2018.

How has Kane’s current season gone?

In two words: not great. He missed the first 11 games with an injury. In the five games he’s played, he’s yet to register a point, with just eight shots total.

On Saturday, following a 4-2 loss to New Jersey, Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said he needed “more” from Kane, who finished minus-3 with just one shot.

Three days later, Kane finished minus-2 and didn’t even register a shot, and the Sabres lost 4-1 in St. Louis.

Read more: Cue the Evander Kane speculation