Be honest, you had to look up his name when the trade first broke. That has to be true for about 95% of us. I did at first, then it quickly came back to me he was the player that was packaged with a pick and sent to Pittsburgh for Olli Maatta.
There are a two main keys to Kahun’s game: Speed and skill.
First, he’s an undersized forward (5’11”, 175 lbs), but he more than makes up for it with the wheels he has. Straight line speed, acceleration and agility are all at a high level.
I don’t necessarily know the context of this game and how tired his opponents were, but Kahun shows a great burst of speed, maintaining it until he quick twitches a Gretzky curl, finding the open man across the ice. Granted, it’s overtime with a lot more space, but that’s where his skating really shines.
Kahun’s feet may be fast, but one could argue his hands are just as quick. At this point, I think most of us have seen this play, but it shows he can stickhandle himself into a better opportunity, something not many on the Sabres can do.
The way I’ve initially thought about the move is the Sabres didn’t lose the speed of Sheary, but added a playmaking ability with Kahun that Sheary never had and Rodrigues would show occasionally.
I am confident both Sheary and Rodrigues will not be returning to Buffalo, so seeing Sabres GM Jason Botterill receive a player like Kahun under team control past this season is a nice pickup.
I know it’s not the blockbuster trade that many fans wanted, but the Sabres think they have a chance to make a push. It’s a long shot, but at least they’re trying instead of folding, especially with the lackluster deadline moves from Toronto and Florida, who are stumbling their way through the second half of the season at the moment. I think it’s too little too late, but hey anything can happen.
Back to Kahun, I was hoping some advanced statistics could give people some kind of better understanding of who the Sabres acquired. Let’s face it, we’re not religiously watching Penguins games.
Below you can see the obvious offensive update Kahun brings the Sabres over Rodrigues.
And here is the comparison between Kahun and Sheary.
This next chart, I’ve mostly focused on parts like “Ice Time”, his star ratings and his market value.
First, it’s clear Kahun will get an expanded role in Buffalo. While I think he could slot in at times on the second line, I think it’s wise to start Kahun with third line minutes and have him work his way up. With injuries and line shuffling, I’m sure he’ll see himself in the top-6 at some point before the end of the season.
Second, his star ratings more or less match what we see in the other charts above and below. He’s good to very good on the offensive side, solid defensively, but he’s below average on special teams. So don’t expect him to make a large impact when special teams steps onto the ice.
Lastly, the market value I believe will be the biggest focal point of Kahun. He’s entering restricted free agency and I predict Sabres fans won’t be too jazzed if he’s signed to a contract with $5.73 million AAV. I’m not going to predict what they should pay Kahun, but it’s something to keep in mind.
This next chart from @ChartingHockey will show some of Kahun’s weaker metrics like hits (sorry Rob Ray), expected goals and shots. This drives home the point Kahun is more of a playmaker than a shooter.
Overall, Kahun is decent from a “Wins Above Replacement” standpoint and has good possession numbers from zone entry and exit perspective.
The famous RAPM chart:
This next chart from Micah Blake McCurdy shows Kahun is decent with shot generation and shot suppression. Also, this chart reinforces he’s not great at drawing penalties, but he’s not taking many himself.
And lastly, the final chart shows NHLe point production from when he started in Germany’s junior circuit (check out his stats from that), came over and played in the OHL in his draft year, through his time in the DEL (Germany’s top league) after going undrafted, then back to the NHL starting in his D+6 year in 2018-19.
These stats are comprised of what a player is projected to produce over an 82 game span in the NHL when playing in other leagues.
For reference to match up the NHLe and his career statistics in the three leagues I mentioned, Kahun’s draft year was 2013, making his player age “D” the 2012-13 season, D+1 is 2013-2014 and so on.
So, who is Dominik Kahun? He’s a speedy playmaker with good hockey IQ and offensive flair. He’s not running guys 7 rows deep, he’s not drawing penalties like Jack Eichel or Jeff Skinner and he’s not going to blow your doors off the special teams, but he’s a good pickup for the middle six in exchange two guys that weren’t returning after this season.
Welcome to Buffalo Dominik, I’m happy to see you in a Sabres uniform!