As expected, the Buffalo Sabres traded forward Evander Kane prior to Monday's NHL trade deadline. Kane was dealt to the San Jose Sharks for a package that includes what could end up being a first-round draft pick.
In exchange for Kane, the Sabres acquired a conditional 1st round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, a conditional 4th round pick in 2019, and prospect Daniel O'Regan. The first-round pick becomes a second-round selection is the Sharks do not re-sign Kane or do not win the Stanley Cup. The Sharks can defer the 4th round pick until 2020, when it then would become a 3rd round pick.
The deal was the first trade deadline trade made as Sabres GM by first-time general manager Jason Botterill.
Kane, along with defenseman Zach Bogosian, was acquired by the Sabres in 2015 in a blockbuster trade with the Winnipeg Jets. The Sabres sent Winnipeg a package of players that centered around defenseman Tyler Myers.
Kane, 26, was among the Sabres' leading scorers, with 20 goals and 40 points this season. After starting the season strong, his productive had tailed off in recent weeks. Over nine NHL seasons, he has 177 goals and 340 points in 557 games.
The Vancouver native was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Sabres did not engage in negotiations to extend his contract.
Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill, meeting with the media Monday afternoon, said the market for "rental" players with expiring contracts was more difficult than in previous years.
"We certainly had a lot of interest, a lot of discussions with different teams. The bottom line is, we had one legitimate offer for Evander," Botterill said.
"As a result of where we are in the standings, we have to make changes to our organization," Botterill continued. "We group that we have right now is not working."
The GM said the decision not to try to re-sign Kane was made by him and his close advisors, without influence from ownership. He cited salary cap considerations as well as the unsuccessful "mix on the ice."
Kane came to the Sabres with baggage after leaving Winnipeg on bad terms. Behavioral concerns have been raised throughout his career, though he had largely stayed out of trouble since coming to Buffalo.
"Evander is one of the top young power forwards in the NHL. He is a dynamic player who has a unique combination of size, grit, speed and goal-scoring ability," said Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson, in statement.
O'Regan is a product of Boston University and a former teammate of Sabres star forward Jack Eichel. A 5th round pick in 2012, O'Regan has seen little NHL action. He has 7 goals and 25 points this season for the AHL's San Jose Barracuda, after recording 58 points in 2016-17. He will report to the Sabres' AHL affiliate Rochester Americans.
The Kane trade was the only deal Botterill made Monday.
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) February 26, 2018