Last Season, Sabres GM Tim Murray shocked the NHL with a huge trade, going all in on Evander Kane to add to his rebuild. At the time, many Sabres fans (me included) were unhappy with the idea of losing Tyler Myers, fan punching bag Drew Stafford, a 1st Round Pick in 2015, and former 1st round pick prospect Joel Armia. The main thought was Tim Murray overpaid and gave up a lot to acquire Kane, and former 1st round pick Zach Bogosian.
As we inch closer to the 1 year anniversary of the deal, making a full assessment of the deal may be premature, but still worth monitoring.
The primary thing fans need to remember, this deal was to ensure the Sabres got rid of 2 talented players, for 1 injured potential star, who would only aid their fall to the bottom. Kane being out the rest of the season ensured Buffalo would have less offense to finish off the season and increase the likelihood of a bottom finish, which worked out perfectly. Even though Jack Eichel’s selection had nothing to do with this trade, it’d be foolish to not include him, because that was Murray’s main reason for giving up as much as he did. The goal was clear, to finish last, and acquiring a star that wouldn’t contribute the rest of the 2014-2015 season was seen as a huge win. It’s also a big reason why Murray waited until the day of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, to acquire Ryan O’Reilly. “Rhino” would have been a huge boost to the team and only hurt the team’s chance of tanking.
Evander Kane has had a rocky first season with his new Franchise, and has had a negative media standing, being labeled a “bust” by one writer, and a recent rape investigation. His on ice production hasn’t been what Murray expected, in 37 games Kane has 10 Goals, 8 Assists for 18 points. Kane had been in a long slump recently. If Kane can stay healthy, he might be able to crack 20 Goals, and get 40 points on the year.
Zach Bogosian was the defenseman Buffalo acquired, who many fans felt Murray was swapping with Myers. The oft-injured Bogosian has been hurt most of the year, only seeing 30 Games, with 1 Goal and 6 Assists. Bogo is more of a bruising d-man, not known to have a scoring touch, but did have 30 points in 2011-2012. He’s a solid defenseman, but expecting him to compete with Myers in the point department isn’t worth the time.
On Winnipeg’s end, the main piece of the deal Tyler Myers has been having a solid season. In exactly half a season, Tyler has 5 Goals, 13 Assists and a plus 5. He has been averaging 22:08 TOI, which is exactly what Winnipeg wanted, a top defenseman. Tyler has 38 hits, which is was Buffalo’s main gripe with Myers, he refused to use his body to his advantage. Buffalo tried everything to get him to become more physical, but Tyler seems to be the same talented offensive minded, puck moving defenseman, that refuses to play physical.
Another big piece of the deal, Drew Stafford, has had a good year, and is on pace for career high numbers. Stafford has 44 Games played, 14 Goals, and 10 assists. If he keeps up the trend, he will score 28 Goals, and 19 Assists, good for 47 Points. Stafford is an extremely streaky player, and I definitely can see him eclipsing the 50 point barrier. His career year was in 2010-2011, which saw Drew score 31 Goals and 21 Assists (52 Points) in only 62 Games. Sabres fans were extremely optimistic of his potential and placed an unrealistic expectation on him for a full season. He never reached that high expectation, but was a solid 2nd line winger when the talent was around him. Before the deal, Stafford had 50 Games Played with Buffalo, 9 Goals and 15 Assists for 24 Points, which with the “tank roster” was actually pretty good. If Murray would have been able to keep him, I feel he would have similar numbers to what he has now with the Jets. To help prove my point, after the deal Stafford helped the Jets playoff push, in 26 Games, he had 9 Goals, 10 Assists.
The pieces the Jets acquired haven’t affected the NHL club yet, which makes it too early to make a full assessment of the deal. Joel Armia has 11 NHL Games, just recently scoring his first NHL goal. Brendan Lemeiux has had some negative play in the OHL, see the hit below. Jake Roslovic was selected with the pick Buffalo sent to Winnipeg and won’t see the NHL for a few years.
— Craig Ripley (@Craig_Ripley) October 16, 2015
The trade still seems to be a push when you add in the goal that Buffalo achieved by making this deal, Jack Eichel. Both teams will benefit in the long run from this deal. The deal will be definitely monitored heavily by Sabres fans, because Myers was a fan favorite. It’s okay to move on from Myers, he’s the same big bodied, 40 point, puck moving d-man we watched for years.