The NHL trade deadline has just seen its first major transaction.
The Winnipeg Jets have just completed a blockbuster trade with Buffalo Sabres, which included Evander Kane as part of the package.
We can finally end the Kane-to-Philadelphia rumor that has swirled around the city since last season.
The Flyers were mentioned yet again in the Kane conversation recently, but this time it looked as if they did not have much desire in pursuing the 23-year-old left winger. Bob McKenzie of TSN said the Flyers had “lukewarm” interest and were worried about the asking price from the Jets. Buffalo, who is currently dead last in the NHL standings, was looking to add some young talent and build for the future. Although Kane has a shoulder injury that looks to be keeping him out the rest of the year, he was one of the big names going into the March 2 deadline. In 37 games with the Jets this season, he notched 10 goals and 12 assists.
Fans clamored for GM Ron Hextall to make an offer for him this summer, in hopes that he could provide some scoring help on the first line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. It is clear that he was no longer happy with the Jets organization and wanted out. He even favorited a fan’s tweet mentioning the possibility of him coming to Philadelphia. Many trade scenarios, which included names such as Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier began surfacing and the rumor picked up steam. They appeared to have been close to closing the deal, but for whatever reason, did not.
While the thought of Kane playing alongside Giroux and Voracek is nice, the price would have been too steep.
Hextall took over the GM job from Paul Holmgren and right away was thrust into a tough situation. The Flyers have some salary cap issues, mostly due to bad contracts of underachieving veteran players . He has said that he values his younger players and does not believe trading them away is always the best solution. The Flyers are notorious for trading away young players that seem to find success elsewhere in their careers and signing aging veterans to salary cap-hampering contracts. The plan appears to be for the team to build itself through the draft and let the current core of young players develop on-ice chemistry.
Kane would have certainly costed one of those players, along with draft picks. He is a former 4th overall pick in the 2009 draft and is only 23. His speed, scoring ability and upside made him a hot commodity on the trade market.
It is clear the Flyers are a long-shot to make the playoffs at this point. They will likely look to sell rather than buy at the trade deadline, and have work to do in the offseason to sure up their needs.