Kevin Cheveldayoff has completed his first ever player for player trade by any measure and it is humoungus big. Cheveldayoff traded Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian, and prospect Jason Kasdorf to the Buffalo Sabres for Although the players acquired are NHLers, the quality of NHLers is in question. The Winnipeg Jets are giving up the best player in this trade by a mile in Evander Kane. Say what you want about Kane off the ice, he was a huge help for the Jets possession wise and was able to make the Jets third line better a mismatch line against most teams in the league.
The Players Involved
Evander Kane: The Jets are giving up a potential 30 goal scorer and high volume shooter who was able to play on any line and elevate that line. Although hampered by injuries for much of his time in Winnipeg, Kane was known for playing through those injuries and still managing to produce numbers. As noted by a former NHLer yesterday, playing with the shoulder injury he had can be a difficult and painful exercise. Kane electing for shoulder surgery probably made him a more attractive target for the Buffalo Sabres because he cannot mess with their tank this year.
Zach Bogosian: He had one year that it looked like he was going to break out as a NHL player. Every other season he has played has been decidedly meh and he may do well with a new team, the Sabres are not a strong team and that could wreck havoc on Bogosian, especially since he is best in a simple system that does not require him to think too much.
Jason Kasdorf: One of many young goalies that the Jets had. With Eric Comrie and Connor Hellebyuk in the AHL next year, there may not have been much space for him if the Jets had elected to sign him. This gives Kasdorf the opportunity to go to a team where there is potentially more space for him to play when he elects to turn pro.
Tyler Myers: The most puzzling piece of this move is Myers. When looking at his WOWYs (with or without you) numbers on Hockey Analysis, it looks like his best season occurred when playing beside Andrej Sekera, now of the Carolina Hurricanes. He may be salvageable alongside a player like Tobias Enstrom, but currently he looks like a bad player on a worse contract. However, the Sabres have been very bad recently and that does not help a player, so there is hope for him. Hopefully he ends up being a better player than Bogosian, but that is only a hope right now.
Drew Stafford: A natural right wing, he should replace Dustin Byfuglien in the forward lineup...which gives the Jets a gluttony of defenders to play on the right side. Jacob Trouba, Tyler Myers, and Byfuglien are all RHD but the Jets are short on good LHD. The acquisition of Stafford should help in the short term, but does bring more question marks to the lineup and is probably pending him staying beyond this season as he is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) this summer.
Joel Armia: According to those who have seen him play in the AHL this year, Armia is a great skater who possesses a good shot. Armia is 21 years old and is averaging 2.36 shots/game. This is a good sign for the young player and he should help out the St. John's Ice Caps this year and is probably a strong candidate for a call-up if any top 9 player gets hurt in Winnipeg this season.
Brendan Lemieux: Not much has been said about Lemieux, but he is able to score goals at the OHL level and is a big boy. He will most likely surpass his points total from last season shortly and his goal scoring is definitely an asset. According to Brock Otten of OHL Prospects, Lemieux is an okay skater who competes hard and has good hands in tight.
The Jets also acquired a low first round pick from the Sabres that is either from the St. Louis Blues or the New York Islanders.
Looking at the Fancy Stats
Corsi is all the pucks directed at the net, including blocked shots. Zone starts (ZS) relative to team indicates if a player is getting more of their faceoffs in their offensive or defensive zone. Neutral zone is not included. Quality of teammate is seen as a better stat than ZS, but is unavailable on War-on-Ice.
By looking at the entirety of Myers and Bogosian's NHL careers, it is evident that the two players are roughly the same player as they have both spent time in tire fires. It is also evident that Kane is far and away the best player in this trade, even if you consider he had favourable zone starts when he was younger. Stafford is an effective middle six player who should help the Jets in the short term. What is unknown is how this will work out for the long term in Winnipeg. By trading Kane, the Jets have moved a known players for players they hope will be able to replace his current play. This is a dangerous game to play as if Armia does not work out, the Jets are up the creek without an elite shot creator and potential Andrew Ladd replacement when Ladd starts to age out of a scoring role.
While including a larger sample size is good for Bogosian and Myers, it does not reflect the difference in Kane and Stafford currently. While a six year sample size paints a pretty fair picture of Myers and Bogosian's NHL careers, encompassing both their good and bad years, it does not show how much Kane's role specifically has evolved through the years.
Relative to the Jets, Kane has had the tougher zone starts this year and still has ended up with positive possession. Stafford has sorry looking possession numbers, albeit they are unadjusted to fit his teams historically bad ways.
Money wise, this trade is great for the Jets. Although the cap hits for Bogosian and Myers are close, Myers contract is front-loaded and the actual money paid out is less than his current cap hit. The Sabres are retaining half of Stafford's contract and Armia has one year remaining on his Entry Level Contract after this season. This frees up cash for Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba contracts in the 2016 off-season. The flexibility provided on that front should not be overlooked.
This trade is not the end of the world for the Jets. It is a step back for them and may be a trade that they end up regretting because Kane was devalued to the point where all that he could be traded for is a player on an expiring deal and a prospect that may one day replace Kane's production is a huge risk. This trade may help morale in the room, but that can only go so far when the game is played on the ice.