The Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets pulled off a blockbuster trade Wednesday that sent two of the Sabres' highest-profile players to the Western Conference. Late in the day, the team also traded its starting goaltender.
The Sabres dealt defenseman Tyler Myers, forward Drew Stafford, forward prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and a first round draft pick to Winnipeg in exchange for forward Evander Kane, defenseman Zach Bogosian and goaltender Jason Kasdorf.
Myers and Kane, the centerpieces of the deal, have been the subjects of trade rumors for much of the season. Myers, 25, is a 6' 8" defenseman who won the NHL's Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in his freshman campaign in 2010.
"You can't make a trade like this without giving up something. Either you're in, when they call and mention names of this stature...or you're out," said Sabres general manager Tim Murray, in a news conference at First Niagara Center. "It's certainly not easy trading good players and good people out of your organization."
Kane, 23, was the fourth overall selection in the 2009 NHL Draft. His tenure in Winnipeg had turned sour in recent weeks, after he reportedly got into an altercation with a teammate following his violation of team dress code. Kane was put in season-ending injured reserve after undergoing shoulder surgery last week. His recovery is pegged at four-to-six months.
"He plays hard. He plays in traffic. He doesn't play a perimeter game, he plays a heavy game. He scores goals from around the net. He plays the game right," said Murray.
The GM said Sabres owner Terry Pegula asked questions about Kane's perceived character issues and authorized Murray to do what he felt was best for the team.
Armia is also a former first-round pick, in 2011, who hadn't made an impact in brief stints with the Sabres. Lemieux, the son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux, was drafted 31st overall in 2014.
Stafford was one of the Sabres' longest-serving veterans. The 29-year-old played 563 games with Buffalo, scoring 145 goals and tallying 177 assists over parts of nine seasons.
Bogosian (6’3”, 225 lbs.) has played in seven seasons with the Jets/Thrashers organization after being selected by Atlanta in the first round (third overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, recording 127 points (40+87) and 325 penalty minutes in 393 career NHL games. In 41 games this season, Bogosian has tallied 13 points (3+10) and 40 penalty minutes while averaging 22:10 of ice time per game.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the team announced it traded goaltender Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars in exchange for goalie Anders Lindback and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2016.
Enroth assumed the starting role after Ryan Miller was traded in the 2013-2014 season. He has played in 37 games this season, compiling a record of 13-21-2 with a .903 save percentage and a 3.27 goals-against average.
Lindback has appeared in 10 games with Dallas this season, registering a 2-8-0 record. The five-year NHL veteran has also played with the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators. He owns a 36-43-8 career record with a .901 save percentage and 2.84 goals-against average.