Trade grades: Sharks get Evander Kane for a bargain price
San Jose Sharks get: LW Evander Kane
Buffalo Sabres get: C Danny O'Regan, conditional 2019 first-round pick, conditional 2020 fourth-round pick. If the Sharks re-sign Kane, it's a 2019 first-round pick; if they do not, it's a second-round pick.
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Kane has 20 goals and 20 assists this season in 61 games for the Sabres, which is best point production season in a non-lockout season since 2011-12. The gamble for San Jose is that his 2018 scoring slump — just five goals and one assist in 23 games since Jan. 1 — is a result of the uncertainty about his future. Because that's tied for 347th in the NHL during that span.
Kane slides right into the Sharks' lineup on left wing, bumping Timo Meier and Tomas Hertl down the lineup for better depth. One assumes he lines up on the top line with center Joe Pavelski, and gives him the finisher he's lacked all season. Logan Couture is the only Sharks player with over 20 goals this season, and the Sharks are 17th in the NHL in goals per game (2.83).
Kane averages 3.7 shots on goal per game, the fifth most in the NHL. That means the Sharks now have two of the top-five shot producers in the NHL along with Brent Burns (second, 4.1). His 28 even-strength points were second on the Sabres, and would be tied for the Sharks' lead in that category.
Obviously, there's more to Kane than his on-ice accomplishments — there's his off-ice law enforcement entanglements. In March 2017, Kane faced four counts of non-criminal harassment, one count of disorderly conduct and a count of misdemeanor trespass following a June 24 incident at a Buffalo bar. Two women alleged he grabbed them and a male bouncer said Kane attempted to fight him after he intervened. Kane made a plea agreement in Oct. 2017, pleading not guilty, and then had the charges dropped after remaining out of legal trouble through March 30, 2018.
So the Sharks add that to the locker room, too.
One other wrinkle: Evander Kane has never played in a playoff game in his NHL career. So that's a bit of an X factor for a team that … well, has seen its share of postseason regression from elite offensive players.
On a day in which first-round picks were flying out the door for players like Ryan Hartman, the Sabres basically received a second-round pick as the centerpiece of the deal. It only becomes a first-round pick if the Sharks re-sign Kane, which isn't guaranteed at all.
O'Regan has played 22 games with the Sharks, with a goal and four assists. He's a Boston University product that played on Jack Eichel's team there and under Steve Greeley, the Sabres assistant general manager who was an assistant coach at BU. So take that as you will.
From ESPN's Chris Peters:
"Good playmaking forward with strong offensive sense. Has been a productive at the AHL level, and has gotten a few looks from San Jose. Played on the same line as Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues at BU in 2014-15 and had his most productive season. Good distributor of the puck, can play center or wing. Not going to make or break any team, but offers some scoring depth. All of that said, he's 24, so it's kind of sink-or-swim time for him at the NHL level. I would not anticipate him getting much better than he is right now."
TSN's Darren Dreger reported that GM Jason Botterill was looking for a first-round pick, a prospect, a roster player and a conditional pick. This was a second-rounder that might become a first, a middling prospect and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2020. So this is not the best return for the Sabres.
Just a reminder that Ryan Hartman garnered the 2018 first-round pick, 2018 fourth-round pick and center Victor Ejdsell from Nashville.
Maybe the market wasn't what we thought it was for Kane. Because … ouch.