Buffalo winger Evander Kane plays during the 2018 Winter Classic.
The reported price for Sabres winger Evander Kane, an impending free agent in the offseason, is a first round pick, a conditional pick, a prospect, and a roster player.
I mean, that’s exorbitant. That’s a high price IF the acquiring team were getting a couple years of control. But Kane projects to be the cream of the free agent class, so any deadline deal would likely be for his services through the remainder of the season.
In 2016, the Jets traded forward Andrew Ladd and two other players to the Blackhawks ets for a first rounder, a conditional pick, and a prospect. Ladd was a rental then, and some salary was retained by Winnipeg. Ladd only scored 25 goals that season, 8 coming after the trade. Knane this season has 36 points through 44 games.
Last winter, Kevin Shattenkirk was dealt by the Blues to the Capitals for a roster player (Zach Sanford), a first rounder, and a conditional pick.
Kane is a better player than Ladd at this time. He’s only 26 – entering the prime of his career. So is the trade price justified? I don’t think so.
A first round pick is a very valuable commodity. Each team gets one each year, so there are only 31 such picks in a given year. First-rounders are the only draft picks considered to be somewhat “sure things” to make the league as regular players. And unlike in Baseball, NHL teams don’t have ranks and ranks of prospects at different system levels. An NHL team may have 3-4 players it is high on, and a bunch of other players that are team fillers at the AHL or lower levels. Any team should be leery of trading away such a package for a rental player.
And I think the Blues will be. For one, they don’t have a 2018 first round pick to trade. The Flyers got it from them in the Schenn trade. The Blues have built a nice group of forward prospects, and I have to think the front office will be extremely disinclined to trade from that group.
If Buffalo were to come down on their price to, say, a 2nd round pick, a conditional pick, and a lesser roster player, then I would advise the Blues to go for it. But someone will pay the higher price.
Thanks for reading.