Sabres Trade Talks; Evaluating the Risk and Reward of Evander Kane

With a brief lull in the Evander Kane trade talks, it’s time to bring up some of the trade proposals that have been talked about throughout the Sabres community. The buzz, for those that are late to the party, comes as a result of events prior to and after the Winnipeg forward was listed as a healthy scratch in last week’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

According to reports, Kane was nowhere to be found prior to the game in his own hometown. Kane apparently wore a track suit to a team meeting the morning of the game, violating a team policy. Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien took initiative and threw Kane’s clothes in the showers to send him the message that his behavior is unacceptable. This was a characteristic move by Kane, as Dustin Byfuglien had this to say about the incident:

“We got so much stuff going on around here, this is just a little thing,” he said. When further questioned about what is going on, he told the media that “We could go for days.”

Kane's recent behavior doesn't come as a surprise to the team. According to Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, "We got so much stuff going on around here, this is just a little thing".  Image courtesy of Lance Thomson/Getty Images 

Kane's recent behavior doesn't come as a surprise to the team. According to Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, "We got so much stuff going on around here, this is just a little thing". 

Image courtesy of Lance Thomson/Getty Images 

Interesting to say the least, but the story doesn’t stop there. On Thursday, Kane was placed on the injured reserve due to an apparent season-ending need for a shoulder surgery. According to the Winnipeg Press, Kane had been playing through the shoulder injury and chose to be evaluated by team doctors Thursday morning; impeccable timing if I do say so myself.

With Winnipeg deep in playoff contentions, the Jets lose a tough, grinding winger as a result of Kane’s injury.  The team’s loss as a result of his injury, coupled with his actions as of late has really opened up the trade talks.

As of today, there have been multiple Sabres names being thrown around as pieces in a trade for Evander Kane but prior to even discussing the names, one must state the obvious. Kane can score goals but it comes as a price for his blatant attitude issues.

With that out there, it’s time to analyze some of the trades that have been brought up.

Chris Stewart/Drew Stafford for Evander Kane

Although Stewart’s play has hot as of late, this trade should be automatically dismissed upon reading Stafford’s name. Stafford is known as a leader on this team and a player that keeps everyone’s behavior in check. I’m sure if Kane were to pull his shenanigans in Buffalo, Stafford would be the first to address the issue. Without Stafford in Buffalo, Kane and his intimidating size would most likely walk all over Sabres captain Brian Gionta.

Plus, trading Kane in any package with Stewart gives each team an attitude issue to deal with. A short look back at Stewart’s track record and you’ll see a little bit of Kane-itude in Stewart. Following an early December practice, Stewart undressed outside the team’s locker room following the news that he was going to be a scratch in the game that afternoon. Staff members had to wheel Stewart’s equipment from where he got undressed and place it in his locker. After dealing with Kane’s attitude, how much more can Winnipeg fans deal with?

With his own set of attitude issues, is Chris Stewart (25) worth the trade to Winnipeg fans and management after they have dealt with Evander Kane for 4 years? Photo courtesy of Bill Wippert/Getty Images

With his own set of attitude issues, is Chris Stewart (25) worth the trade to Winnipeg fans and management after they have dealt with Evander Kane for 4 years?

Photo courtesy of Bill Wippert/Getty Images

Chris Stewart/1st round pick for Evander Kane

 This is a trade most fans are getting behind. The Sabres have 3 first round picks piled up for the 2015 draft and many fans are hoping for Conor McDavid or Jack Eichel to be wearing a Sabres jersey next season. With 3 picks in the first round, the Sabres are sure to pick up some talent, but is giving up the pick worth the risk of having Evander Kane in a Sabres jersey next year after rehabbing a shoulder injury?

Chris Stewart/Mikhail Grigorenko/1st round pick for Evander Kane

 No, but maybe yes? The Sabres have the position at center locked up for years to come, causing many fans to question the status of Mikhail Grigorenko in the Sabres organization. That is one of the main reasons why his name has been featured in many of the different package deals for Kane. It’s clever idea, but it’s hard to look past the 1st round pick in any Sabres trade. The draft pool for next year is stacked. Again, is it worth giving up future talent for the behavior-plagued Evander Kane?

Conclusion

 The jury is still out on what the price is for Evander Kane. From a Winnipeg viewpoint, they are a team looking to make the playoffs and dump a player that has consistently caused problems for them off the ice. I’m sure the management is willing to listen to any trade offers and will pull the trigger on something that brings them scoring power and physical play.

On the Sabres side, they have some strong pieces that could be a fit in Winnipeg, one of them being Chris Stewart. His ability to score and grind for pucks is what would make him a perfect fit on a Winnipeg roster gunning for the playoffs. With the trade deadline nearing closer every day, if I were Tim Murray I would sit on Chris Stewart and see what else I can get for one of the only Sabres players that may bring talk about the league the next three weeks before the March 2nd trade deadline.

Feel free to share any of the other rumors in the comments below. With the trade deadline right around the corner it's always fun to throw up some rumors and analyze the offers.