It all started with one tweet from TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger...
Further to @TSNBobMcKenzie, Jets and Sabres in trade discussions involving Evander Kane. Deal is not done, but heating up.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) February 11, 2015
After this tweet, a flurry of tweets piled in from media outlets across Canada and the hockey world. Little tidbits would be supplied by different media sources to slowly piece together the principles of this blockbuster trade. Early Wednesday morning, all of Jets nation was glued to there computer screens. Refreshing there computer screens with the hopes of getting more clarity as to where Winnipeg's newfound number one enemy would be heading. Kevin Cheveldayoff put his big boy pants on and did not just trade Evander Kane. He pulled the trigger on arguably the biggest trade in franchise history.
The Winnipeg Jets traded Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and prospect Jason Kasdorf to Buffalo in exchange for Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia, Brendan Lemieux and a 2015 first round draft pick. As the hockey world took time to digest the move, people started voicing there opinions on the deal. Some proclaimed the Jets the winner, while others crowned the Sabres.
In reality it's hard to deem one team the winner, it's way too early for that..
From The Jets Perspective
The Jets somehow pulled off a trade that benefits them in the future and at the same time in the present day. Evander Kane is out for the season and the Jets were left with trade rumours swirling around there heads and a gaping hole at there third line slot. It seemed impossible for Kane to return next season in a Jets sweater, it just was not an option. Kane had to be traded but Kevin Cheveldayoff was not going to trade the 23 year old winger just for the sake of trading him. Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free press listed the Jets asking price for Kane as somewhere in the ball park of a young NHL player, a grade A prospect and a first round draft pick.
The Jets got Tyler Myers as a young NHL player. They got Joel a high end prospect in Joel Armia and a first round pick. Along with Drew Stafford and Brendan Lemieux who are two valuable pieces as well.
For the Future
A big part of this trade for the Jets came in futures. First off, a first round pick is a first round pick, plain and simple. Despite the fact it will be the lowest pick out of the 3 picks the Sabres posses, it's still a first round pick and a valuable commodity that can be used at the deadline or on draft day.
Then come the prospects. Joel Armia is an intriguing part of the deal. The Sabres 2011 first round draft pick has been quite the offensive weapon with Rochester in the AHL. Recording 25 points in 33 games.
Brendan Lemieux is a pretty underrated piece of the puzzle in this blockbuster deal. His father Claude Lemieux passed down some gritty attributes to go along with some skill. Brendan has produced 50 points in 46 games this yea along with 120 PIM.
Looking in to the present day, turn your attention to Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford.
Tyler Myers is was once a highly touted young defender, but his game - along with his team - have come upon some bumpy roads. That said, he is a player that could really benefits from a change of scenery.
Since winning the Calder Trophy in his rookie season (2009-2010), Myers has seen a regression in his game. His minutes and responsibility increased at a rate that he couldn't handle. This coupled with new, higher expectations led to disappointment and questions about what Myers long term potential was. With Myers coming to Winnipeg, the pressure will be off him and expectations will be lower. He can be sheltered an he will have a chance to develop.
Granted, adding Myers came at at cost. The Jets were force to give up another top player, defenseman Zach Bogosian. Bogosian could also benefit from a change of scenery. This also places him nearby his hometown of Massena, New York. For the Jets, the impact of losing Bogosian is obviously mitigated by the acquisition of Tyler Myers - and there are some that consider the move an upgrade.
Drew Stafford is another big addition for the now. He will bring the Jets a much needed upgrade to the teams' middle six.He won't fully replace Kane, but Kane was out with an injury anyways. Stafford carries a cap hit of 4 mil per year, but the Jets will only have to pay half of the prorated value after the Sabres retained 50% of his remaining contract. Stafford is a UFA at the end of the season and even he may walk but, adding him was a reasonable and cost effective gamble.
More to Come?
Cheveldayoff certainly has the room to make more upgrades the the team's third and fourth lines. He has ammo too with Paul Postma, Jay Harrison and Adam Pardy to trade and he could package them with late round draft picks.
Acquiring players like Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford, people could lead people to deem this as a "win now" move, but then again acquiring prospects such as Brendan Lemieux and Joel Armia and a first round pick point to the future. It is also important to remember that Tyler Myers is still rather young at 25 years old.
This move is truly the best of both world for the Jets.
The trade provided fresh starts to players such as Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Tyler Myers. It will be interesting to see who it benefits the most in the long term. For the time being there is no winner in this trade and only time will tell who got the better of the deal, but from the outside it looks like both teams made educated gambles that should benefit them both in the long run.