How Will The Largest Trade In February 2015 Affect The Teams Involved?
by Karl Seed
This has been one of the busiest months for trades in the NHL for quite some time, and some of the trades that have taken place have come out of the blue, but others were less surprising. We have seen 33 players moved in the month of February, some more familiar to the NHL faithful than others.
The most recognisable and telling trade took place on the 11th February when Evander Kane was involved in an 8 part trade when the Sabres acquired him from the Winnipeg Jets, along with defenceman Zach Bogosian and 22 year old goaltender Jason Kasdorf in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a 1st Round pick in the 2015 Entry Draft.
Both teams are having very contrasting seasons, with Buffalo propping up the league table, and Winnipeg currently sitting in the 1st Wildcard spot in the Western Conference. This trade was ideal for both teams, as Buffalo has acquired two young, but NHL experienced players in Kane (23) and Bogosian (24), which will help them through the rebuild, and also help guide their younger players, such as Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen, through tougher times which Buffalo are currently experiencing.
Evander Kane will offer consistent performances at a Buffalo team that lack consistency more than most. Kane is a former 30 goal scorer, and has racked up 222 points in 361 games, along with a staggering 385 penalty minutes, a side to his game everyone in the NHL is very much aware of. Zach Bogosian will offer Buffalo a solid defensive platform to build off, replacing Myers in the first pairing with Andre Benoit. He may only have 1 point in 7 games so far since the trade, but he has logged 22 penalty minutes in that time. Not to mention as he’s still young, he’s a player Buffalo can adapt around during their rebuild.
It’s also a clever trade for Winnipeg as they have acquired one of the tallest and most physical defenseman in the NHL at present in Tyler Myers, who, while he may not average the most points in the league as a defenceman with only 18 points so far this season, can offer a lot more. He has however got 5 points in his first 7 games in Winnipeg on the first defensive pairing with Tobias Enstrom.
With the defensive injuries that the Jets have had to deal with this season, to players such as Jacob Trouba, Tobi Enstrom and currently Grant Clitsome, he will offer the Jets another defensive option, who will average around 23 minutes of ice-time and be a solid shut down defenceman, who can also chip in with a few points.
The other key name involved in this trade was Drew Stafford. Stafford has been one of the most underrated players in the Eastern Conference, even though he’s had a 30 goal season, and has 325 points in 570 NHL games at the age of 29. He’ll offer Winnipeg a range of different skills, including a reliable amount of lower line scoring, and an effective amount of penalty minutes, two things which are vital in a successful playoff run.
One key part of this acquisition for the Jets is that Drew Stafford is a forward. It may sound obvious, but with the injuries they’ve received in recent weeks to 2 of their top 5 point scorers this season, in Blake Wheeler and Mathieu Perreault, the addition of him and also Jiri Tlusty, who they acquired later in the month from the Carolina Panthers, will provide vital offensive power.
It also means that when Wheeler returns to their top line, and Perreault returns to Line 2, Stafford and Tlusty could find themselves on either side of Adam Lowry, forming a solid 3rd Line for a team with a real chance in progressing in the 2015 NHL Playoffs.