Evander Kane (Lance Thomson/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres teamed up for a blockbuster deal on Wednesday that sent Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Jason Kasdorf to the Sabres in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a first-round pick.
Early this morning, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Buffalo and Winnipeg were working on a trade that would send Evander Kane to the Sabres. Shortly after McKenzie broke the news, colleague Darren Dreger reported details of the deal.
According to Dreger, the deal sees the Jets ship Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and unsigned goaltender Jason Kasdorf to the Sabres in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and a first-round draft pick.
The deal comes less than a week after reports surfaced that Kane sat out a game following an off-ice incident that included teammate Dustin Byfuglien. Days after the incident, Kane was shuffled to the injured reserve with a shoulder injury that ended his season and will sideline him for four to six months.
Kane, 23, had 10 goals and 22 points in 37 games this season. The one-time 30-goal scorer had difficulty finding the same form he had in 2011-12, but was one of the most popular on-ice players the team had.
Bogosian, a third overall pick of the Atlanta Thrashers in 2008, was the other major Jets player moving in the deal. The 24-year-old blueliner has three goals and 13 points in 41 games this season. His best season came in 2011-12 when he scored five goals and 30 points for the Jets.
The throw-in for Winnipeg is Kasdorf. The unsigned goaltender was the NCAA’s ECAC Rookie of the Year in 2012-13 and a sixth-round pick of the Jets in 2011. He currently has a 2.93 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in 22 games with for RPI.
From Buffalo, Myers is the major piece going to the Jets. The 2009-10 Calder Trophy winning defenseman is in his fifth season in the league, but has been the object of trade rumors for the past couple of seasons. It seemed a deal shipping Myers out of Buffalo was imminent, but it coming in blockbuster fashion comes as somewhat of a surprise. In his rookie season, Myers posted 11 goals and 48 points, but has since failed to top the 40-point plateau. In 47 games, Myers has 4 goals and 13 points.
The addition of Stafford, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, gives the Jets another winger with a decent skillset that can score. Since entering the league in 2003-04, Stafford has scored 30 goals once and 20 on two occasions. His career bests came in 2010-11, when he scored 31 goals and 52 points for the Sabres. As part of the trade, ESPN's Craig Custance reported the Sabres retained half of Stafford's $4 million salary.
Prospects Armia, Lemieux, and the first round pick could also help the Jets build for the future. Armia, 21, is playing in just his second season in North America, suiting up for most of last season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans. In 54 games with the Amerks in 2013-14, Armia posted seven goals and 27 points and has followed that up with 10 goals and 25 points in 33 games this season. Meanwhile, Lemieux has 35 goals and 50 points in 46 games for the OHL’s Barrie Colts. He was selected 31st overall by the Sabres in 2014.
The pick included by the Sabres is likely to be the lowest of the three picks they’ll have in the first round of the upcoming draft.
Fans in Winnipeg have long criticized Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff for his inability to make a player-for-player trade to improve the roster, and this trade, a blockbuster deal that includes seven players and a draft pick is sure to quiet them for some time.