Photo: Ron Chenoy - USA TODAY Sports

Sabres end deadline day making just one trade

Evander Kane was traded to the San Jose Sharks

February 26, 2018 - 3:56 pm

Joe DiBiase reporting

There were many Buffalo Sabres' players rumored to be trade pieces at this year's NHL Trade Deadline. At the end of the day, only one asset was shipped out.

Evander Kane was sent to the San Jose Sharks for conditional picks in the first and fourth rounds of the 2019 NHL Draft, and 24-year old winger Dan O'Regan. 

The likes of Josh Gorges, Benoit Pouliot, Victor Antipin, Robin Lehner, and Zemgus Girgensons, among others, had trade talk surrounding them for weeks, but general manager Jason Botterill didn't end up trading any of them. Gorges and Pouliot will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Antipin and Lehner will be restricted free agents on July 1, 2018 while Girgensons has one-year left on his current deal at $1.6 million. 

This makes just one total trade for the Sabres in the last two deadlines. Tim Murray made zero deals last year, which was very out of character for him. Many fans this year were expecting at least a few deals as Botterill tries to remake this roster. However, nothing the Sabres acquired on Monday will be making a significant impact anytime soon. 

Lehner may be the most interesting of the players not traded on Monday, while veterans like Gorges and Pouliot will probably be gone this offseason. Lehner will need a new contract in the offseason, so Botterill can either sign him to a long term-deal or he could trade Lehner's rights to a team looking for a goalie. The 26-year old goaltender currently carries a cap hit of $4 million per-season, and will likely be looking to get a significant pay day at the start of the new league year.

Botterill addressed the media following the trade of Evander Kane on Monday. Here is some of what he had to say:

On the discussions with other teams for Evander Kane:

"We respect what Evander brings as a player. We think he's a premium player. We talked about that to different teams as a starting point for discussions, then it gets us to a scenario where we invest in the market, seeing what the market is, and what are teams willing to pay? Ultimately, that's what it comes up to. Over the past couple of months, we certainly had a lot of interest and a lot of discussion with different teams. The bottom line is we had one legitimate offer for Evander. That's why we worked off of it with San Jose."

On how Kane handled the trade talks:

"You can say from a production standpoint, he slumped a little bit, but I give Evander a lot of credit. I thought throughout the entire process, he played hard. It had to be a very difficult situation talking to the media everyday, talking about these questions. I thought he handled himself extremely well. I'm excited about his opportunity in San Jose, and hopefully this allows him to get into the playoffs and go all the way to the Stanley Cup."

On why he made the trade:

"We just felt we had some good dialogue with Evander's agent over the previous couple of months on where the situation was at, but the bottom line is we felt that where we're at as an organization, we had to make changes. We're excited that we were able to get a couple of draft picks, we're excited about bringing Dan O'Regan to our organization, but as a result of where we are in the standings, we have to make changes to our organization. The group we have here right now is not working."

On moving other players with term from the roster:

"We certainly had some discussion with that, but I think it's a scenario where Trade Deadline Day is so built up, but it's not the only time to actually make adjustments to your team. We had some good conversation, we understand a little bit of where it is, and we're going to continue to evaluate some of our younger players that we have on our team here. I think our conversation is set up well for the draft in the summer where we're going to improve our team again and make adjustments to the group."

On the acquisition of Dan O'Regan:

"He will report to Rochester right away. Dan is a player that has a connection to some of  our players in our organization from the Boston University connection. We're very impressed with his skill level, certainly with his hockey sense. You look at the success he had last year in the American Hockey League, we think he's ready to make the jump here. We've tried to build Rochester up to have a winning environment down there, and he'll certainly help them down the run. We're hopeful that once he gets into our organization and plays some games, he'll be in the mix for a call up."

On his preparations for the Trade Deadline:

"When you take over as the GM, you're prepared for anything. You always try to hope for the bestm but you have to be prepared for all different scenarios. There's things that we're not happy about. We're not happy where we are as an organization right now. There's things that we have to go about to change that."

You can listen to the entire press conference below:

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