If you’ve been watching the Calgary Flames this season, it probably wouldn’t shock you to learn that they’re concerned about goal-scoring. Their power play is middle of the road compared to the rest of the NHL’s teams.
With a lot of chatter around the league surrounding pending unrestricted free agent Evander Kane of the Buffalo Sabres, a lot of folks have put two and two together and pondered the possibility of Kane coming to Calgary via a trade.
In the latest edition of 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman made the connection:
With Kris Versteeg out a long time, Calgary may look for a power-play specialist and someone who brings edge to their game. They feel a little “too nice,” outside of Travis Hamonic, Micheal Ferland, Mike Smith and Matthew Tkachuk. I could see the Flames part of a growing group eyeing Buffalo’s Evander Kane.
It’s an interesting thought, but it doesn’t seem like a fit for a lot of reasons.
Friedman expanded a bit, noting what the Sabres are seeking in return for Kane:
Kane will be highly coveted, and potential pursuers say the Sabres are looking at the 2016 Andrew Ladd and 2017 Martin Hanzal trades as comparables. Ladd went from Winnipeg to Chicago for Marko Dano, a first-round selection and a conditional pick. Hanzal’s move from Arizona to Minnesota (with Ryan White) was for a first, a second and a fourth. The Sabres feel Kane is an even better option, so they will aim higher.
Here’s the first big problem with landing Kane: the Flames don’t have the assets.
The Flames have no first round pick this year – they sent it to the Islanders in the Travis Hamonic deal. They also have no second round pick this year – also to the Islanders. If the Flames miss the playoffs this year, they have the option of sending this year’s third round pick (or 2019’s) to Arizona as part of the Mike Smith deal. The re-signing of Michael Stone sent this year’s fifth round pick to Arizona as well.
Okay, what about prospects? The only big ticket prospects the Flames have are, arguably, Tyler Parsons, Juuso Valimaki, Adam Fox, Rasmus Andersson and Dillon Dube. It’s extremely unlikely that the Flames would be willing to ship out a high pick or a highly-touted young player for a forward who might be out the door on July 1.
Let’s presume that the Flames figure out a way to con Buffalo into making the trade. Could they afford to add Kane? Kane carries with him a cap hit of $5.25 million – if you pro-rate it, he has about $3.2 million remaining. The Flames have roughly $2.338 million in cap space currently. In other words, to bring Kane in they’d have to lose something significant off their roster in order to make the cap space work (and/or to retain some wiggle room).
Unless Buffalo suddenly wants to acquire Matt Stajan or Troy Brouwer, it’d be very difficult to add Kane for his offensive punch without losing offensive punch in the cap moves necessary to make the finances work.
The Flames are a team heavy on left-shot forwards. Their top nine forwards include zero right shots when Jaromir Jagr is healthy. Their right shots on the active roster right now are Garnet Hathaway, Curtis Lazar, Freddie Hamilton and Troy Brouwer. If anything, the Flames need right shots.
Kane is a left-shot winger. The Flames are full of left-shot wingers, to the point where Sam Bennett is playing on the third line. Adding another left-shot winger seems like an odd move.
So, elephant in the room: Kane hasn’t been super, super popular in the NHL stops he’s had so far. And that’s attempting to be extremely charitable.
Reports out of Winnipeg were that he clashed with teammates to the point where Dustin Byfuglien felt the need to send a message:
Kane wore a track suit when the Jets players gathered that morning for a meeting — a violation of team policy. Following a brief workout and stretch, Byfuglien is believed to have thrown those clothes into the shower to send a message to his teammate, according to sources.
In 2014, he was accused of assaulting a Vancouver man and slapped with a lawsuit. In 2016, he faced several charges after an incident involving three women at a Buffalo bar. The Flames have built a lot of their team culture upon good citizenship and community service, and acquiring a guy who’s been involved in this many incidents seems like a terrible fit.
In other words…
There are enough reasons why the Flames probably won’t acquire Kane that it’s probably safe to conclude that it won’t happen.