The Buffalo Sabres were hemmed into a corner as the afternoon of the trade deadline went on and then there was a trade.
Evander Kane was traded to the San Jose Sharks for a conditional 2019 first round pick. Besides that, there is a conditional 2020 fourth round pick and Danny O’Regan. The first rounder becomes a second if Kane does not re-sign in San Jose.
What Evander Kane Means For San Jose
At the very least, the winger will shoot the puck on net. He averages almost four shots a game. Possession wise, Kane has been good with a team relative over +5%. Part of that was because of Jack Eichel but part is on Kane. When he is on, he can dominate shifts like few can. Unfortunately, when he is off, his game runs off the rails. Penalties result and worse, the winger disappears and disengages.
Kane scored four times in his last seven games including a nine shot effort. On the other hand, the forward vanished for 14 games (no goals). That is kind of what one gets with the left winger.
The good news is that he is only almost 27. The bad news is some of the reputation that fairly or unfairly follows Kane. What is a bit surprising is despite the near 60% offensive zone utilization, Kane only has 20 goals. His expected goals for is around 25. The thought is the change of scenery gets Kane closer to his expected goals for and gives a boost to his power play totals. This would help San Jose, which has seen its power play start to dip a bit again.
What Projections May Be
Again, it appears that Kane would be paired on the top line with Joe Pavelski and a rotating band of right wingers. At least, that could be the initial plan. Kane is projected to be the on the first power play unit as well. This could put him in the 18-19 minute range for time on ice.
The winger has stayed healthy all season and if he does through the stretch run has a real chance to go on a sizable hot streak. San Jose averages a half goal a game more than Buffalo did. This is a significant jump. The scary part is that is below the Sharks expected goal average (3.05 goals per contest).
Kane expected to play tonight against Edmonton in what may be a bit wide open. That should suit the left winger well. San Jose has some favorable match-ups down the stretch. That should be enough to give Kane 15+ point potential over the final seven weeks.
Could he hit 30 goals? This may be possible but not very likely. A number more likely may be 6-8 goals or so. There is an expected shot range of 80-90 along with increased scoring chances per 60. Having Brent Burns and Logan Couture on the team should help power play fortunes for the forward too. There is a chance this could go a bit south because of shot selection. However, enough veteran leadership exists on the Sharks. Finally, the forward has grown some since his earlier days in Buffalo and Winnipeg.