We have a trade to announce.
NHL fans don’t get to hear those words very often, but they did this morning, and they were probably followed by several other words, such as “Seriously?” “What the hell?” and “Wait, there’s even more?” In a league where simple player-for-player trades are becoming a rarity, the Jets and Sabres pulled off a monster seven-player deal that shakes up the core of both teams.
There’s a lot to figure out with a move of this size. Let’s sort through the big questions.
The Jets sent Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, and a prospect to the Sabres for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, two prospects, and a first-round pick.
The big piece here is Kane, a 23-year-old power forward who scored 30 goals three years ago. His production has fallen since then, and he’s earned a reputation as a trouble-maker thanks to various legal problems, social media silliness, and, most recently, a tracksuit that wound up in a shower. That last incident led to him leaving the team and then electing to have season-ending surgery, effectively ending any chances he’d ever play for the Jets again. But he’s still considered a top-tier young talent, and plenty of teams were lining up for a chance to acquire him.
Wait, so the main piece in this trade is out for the season?
Yes. Which is fine, because the team acquiring him has already written the year off. The Sabres are pretty much tanking in order to finish last and earn the right to select either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel, the two sure-thing franchise players available in this year’s draft. So they’re fine with Kane being out now, given that he’s expected to be healthy in time for opening night next year.
The Jets are in a different situation. They weren’t expected to be good this year, but they’ve played well enough to stay in the playoff hunt and are currently holding down a wild-card spot. Kane wasn’t exactly lighting it up, but his absence was going to hurt, and it made some sense for them to move him now for immediate help instead of waiting for the offseason.
So seeing a Kane trade happen now wasn’t a surprise, and a Myers-for-Kane framework had been rumored for days. But the sheer size of the deal and the inclusion of Bogosian was a shock, moving it beyond a simple “get better right now” move.
Bogosian and Myers are both young defenseman, but who is better?
That depends on who you ask, and the long-term answer will probably decide how we end up feeling about this deal years down the road.