Evaluating the future assets from the Evander Kane trade

On Wednesday the Winnipeg Jets made a franchise altering trade, sending Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to Buffalo for Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford. 

But beyond the big names and the established NHL-level players, this trade included several intriguing and lesser known future asset in Brendan Lemieux, Joel Armia and a late first-round pick.

Let’s look into what the Jets acquired on Wednesday in terms of futures. 

Joel Armia

Armia is a very interesting player. Drafted sixteenth overall by the Sabres in 2011, Armia has size (6’3), and excels at protecting the puck. While the 21-year-old Finnish forward doesn’t chase players around like a grinder, he’s not shy about throwing his weight around.

As somebody who watches the Amerks on frequent basis, Armia consistently stands out. His ability to get to the net and produce is a huge asset, and it’s only been improving with age. His 25 points in 33 games ranks sixth on Rochester and puts him fourth in terms of points per game. Prior to playing in North America, Armia made his professional debut with Assat Pori of the SM-Liiga, putting up just under 20 goals in each of his 17-, 18- and 19-year-old seasons.

Armia has a chance of developing into a second line winger, but likely projects to be a very good third-liner. His age and development curve will work to Winnipeg’s benefit as they get better, since his expected salary will be lower than a more mature player of a similar caliber.

Brendan Lemieux

Lemieux was an “almost first rounder” last season, drafted thirty first overall by the Sabres. The son of famous Colorado Avalanche pest Claude Lemieux, Brendan’s lineage is evident whenever he hits the ice. Lemieux plays a game that’s been described as “borderline reckless”, and he has absolutely no fear or second thoughts when it comes to being physical. He’s also a decent scorer. His 1.09 points per game rank him in the OHL’s top-40, though that should be expected of a highly touted player in their draft+1 season. 

Lemieux has similar upside as Armia: he has the potential to contribute offensively, but things will have to go very well for him to develop into an average or better top-six forward at the NHL level. 

A First Round Pick

Rounding things out, we have a first round draft pick. Who’s pick is it, exactly? That remains to be seen. The pick will be the lowest-ranked one of the three that Buffalo has. Barring the greatest comeback in the history of professional sports, it won’t be Buffalo’s own.

Ideally, Jets fans need to cheer on a nosedive from both the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues. The Islanders pick is the carry over pick from the trade that ended Thomas Vanek’s time in Buffalo, while the St. Louis pick is the one that they received for Ryan Miller, who has yet to face the Jets this season.

The focus is obviously going to be on the higher-profile players, but from the looks of it, getting two young potential middle-six forwards and a first-round draft pick adds further to Winnipeg’s already impressive stable of prospect talent.