The Winnipeg Jets have reportedly completed a trade that will send Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, and unsigned goaltender Jason Kasdorf to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Brendan Lemieux, Joel Armia and a first round pick.
The deal is reportedly final and the trade call has been made, according to ESPN’s Craig Custance. The teams have yet to approve the deal.
Obviously this is a massive seven-player swap, and a very curious trade from a Jets perspective.
The trade probably improves them in the short-term, but only because Kane is injured and wasn’t going to play again this season. At the very least adding a right wing like Stafford goes a long way towards addressing the Jets’ forward depth issues, and allows the club to move Dustin Byfuglien back to the blue-line where he’s significantly more effective.
Myers, 25, is the biggest piece from the Jets perspective. A 6-foot-7 defender with solid skating ability, Myers’ on-ice impact has been in decline for several years since he won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year back in 2010. Of the 13 skaters with whom Myers has shared the ice for more than 400 minutes at 5-on-5 since the 2011-12 season, 10 have fared worse with Myers by shot attempt differential than they’ve fared alongside him.
I’ve generally been convinced that Myers is miscast as a top-of-the-roster defenseman, and it hasn’t helped that he’s been holding down major minutes on a historically bad club in Buffalo. Still there’s an argument to be made that Myers is an inferior player to Bogosian, both now and going forward.
Bogosian, 24, has outproduced Myers by a wide margin at 5-on-5 over the past four seasons, though he’s similarly had a slight negative impact on his teammates’ shot differentials. Actually Myers’ and Bogosian’s with or without you profile is essentially identical: 10 of the 13 players with whom Bogosian has shared the ice for more than 400 5-on-5 minutes since 2011 have fared worse by Corsi For percentage with Bogosian, than they’ve done without him.
Beyond their similar two-way results, Bogosian and Myers are on closely aligned contracts – both are signed through 2019 to deal that carry an annual average value above $5 million (Myers’ deal has a $5.5 million cap-hit, Bogosians has a $5.14 million cap-hit).
Far and away the most valuable piece going either way in this trade is Kane, a 23-year-old power forward who has consistently scored at a top-line rate in his NHL career. With everything that’s happened it was probably impossible for the Jets to keep Kane, but if we consider the Myers-Bogosian portion of the deal as a straight up swap, then essentially Kane netted the Jets two decent prospects in Lemieux and Armia, a reasonably effective rental player in Stafford, and a first-round pick.
That’s not a bad return considering the context, but long-term you’d objectively rather have a player of Kane’s youth and quality than the quantity of iffy futures that the Jets are receiving in return.
If nothing else we’ll never be able to say that Kevin Cheveldayoff doesn’t trade NHL players. That meme is dead.
Overall the Sabres appear to have made out very well in terms of accelerating the timeline of their rebuilding efforts. The Jets meanwhile managed to make lemonade out of the stones they were handed late last week as a result of the incident between Kane and his teammates.
That lemonade might be a bit sour, and surely isn’t worth the 50 cents paid to some enterprising local seven-year-old. Extraordinary circumstances backed the Jets into a corner here though, and viewed in that context, this will play.