During the 2nd intermission of game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, Elliott Friedman had a bit of news that would be of interest of Sabres fans. According to Friedman, “Evander Kane, he’s an unrestricted free agent after next season, and the word is that the LA Kings are one of the teams that’s interested and I think the Sabres are willing to do it if LA and them can strike a deal.” The Kings having an interest in Kane definitely makes sense but does trading Evander Kane really make sense from the Sabres standpoint? I recently wrote an article on the Kane situation and you can check it out here =>What To Do With Evander Kane
Kane is entering the last year of his $5,250,000 contract and he’s coming off of one of his best seasons as an NHLer. The Kings are thirsty for goals and I think Kane would be a good fit on that team. Now if the Sabres were to trade Evander Kane I think they’d have to get a top 4 defenseman in return. Many hockey fans believe that the Sabres have no chance of getting any quality in return for Kane (I think I saw someone say today that Buffalo wouldn’t even get a 4th round pick for him). But that notion is just ridiculous. When you’re trading a consistent 20 goal scorer you’d expect nothing less than a quality return even taking into account Kane’s off ice issues. Now Sabres fans shouldn’t expect a mega package of players, prospects, and picks like the Jets got from Buffalo in 2015 but I’d say if the Sabres are trading Kane expect something significant in return. Here’s a list of a handful of LA Kings players or prospects that I’d like the Sabres to target in the event of an Evander Kane trade.
Jake Muzzin D
Muzzin was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007 which was also the same year that Jason Botterill joined the Pens organization. Botterill wasn’t there to draft Muzzin (he was hired shortly after the ’07 draft). So there’s a small connection that could be involved in a trade. Muzzin is a top 4 defenseman which is the Sabres biggest need at the moment and I think he’d be a great fit beside Rasmus Ristolainen. Muzzin is also on a great contract that pays him $4,000,000 per year until 2021. He’s not exactly in the ideal age group that former Sabres GM Tim Murray always would reference but 28 years old isn’t that bad age wise.
Alec Martinez D
Like Jake Muzzin, Martinez is a 2 time Stanley Cup champion (He scored a cup clinching goal as well). He’s also a top 4 defenseman that will also look very nice beside Risto. Martinez is an excellent skater and with the plugs that have been skating around on the Buffalo blue line in recent years (I’m talking to you Cody Franson), he’d be a breath of fresh air. Martinez is also on a great contract. His cap hit is $4,000,000 and he’s under contract until 2022. Martinez and Muzzin both are already cheaper than Kane as far as the salary cap goes so acquiring one of these top 4 defensemen will be great in the coming years for when Jack Eichel is making big money.
Kale Clague D
LA’s 2nd round pick in the 2016 draft and is one of LA’s best prospects in their very weak system of prospects. In my final 2016 mock draft, I had Clague graded out as a late 1st round pick and I’m sure the Kings were pleasantly surprised that Clague slipped to 51st overall. The kid put up back to back 40 point seasons on a very good Brandon Wheat Kings team. Clague also was great for team Canada at the 2016-2017 World Juniors. Not sure that the Kings will be very eager to give up a prospect like Clague but he certainly peaks my interest.
Austin Wagner LW/C
A late cut for team Canada at the 2015-2016 World Juniors who had another great season with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. He’s put up back to back 60 point seasons and he’d be a nice addition to the Sabres prospect pool. He’s looking like a steal after being picked 99th overall in 2015.
LA’s 11th Overall Pick In 2017
I’ve been banging on the trade down drum for awhile. I’m not completely sold on Timothy Liljegren who I’m certain will be the guy Buffalo will be taking at 8. I like the possibility of trading down to snag a guy like Juuso Valimaki, Elias Pettersson, or Eeli Tolvanen with the 11th pick. So maybe a combination of Kane and 8th overall for one of LA’s defensemen, a prospect, and 11th overall. Just a hypothetical scenario there but I’d certainly sign up for that.
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