SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The San Jose Sharks have acquired forward Evander Kane from the Buffalo Sabres in a move to upgrade their depleted forward group.
The Sharks dealt a 2019 conditional first-round pick, prospect Danny O’Regan and a 2020 conditional fourth-round pick to the Sabres on Monday to add a high-scoring winger just before the trade deadline.
San Jose never replaced forward Patrick Marleau after he left as a free agent last July for Toronto, waiting for the right moment to add a top six forward.
With center Joe Thornton sidelined with a knee injury and the Sharks fighting for a playoff spot, general manager Doug Wilson pounced at the deadline.
“Evander is one of the top young power forwards in the NHL. He is a dynamic player who has a unique combination of size, grit, speed and goal-scoring ability,” Wilson said.
“We wanted to add a player that could help this team but also was just hitting his prime. We feel that Evander fits both of those needs and we see this as a great opportunity for him to get to know our group and the city of San Jose.”
The Sharks began the day in second place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of Anaheim and two in front of Calgary. They rank 16th in the league in scoring with 178 goals and had just four goals in losing the final three games on a recent road trip that ended with a 3-2 overtime loss in Minnesota.
San Jose has no power-play goals in its past nine games, failing on all 20 opportunities.
Kane has 20 goals and 20 assists in 61 games for the Sabres. He is in the final season of a $31.5 million, six-year contract and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The nine-year veteran has 177 goals and 163 assists in 557 games.
Kane’s departure from Buffalo was inevitable given his status as an upcoming free agent this summer. The Sabres are in rebuilding mode under first-year general manager Jason Botterill and are in last place in the Eastern Conference.
Kane sat out the Sabres’ previous two games as he awaited a trade away from Buffalo after he was initially expected to be a long-term answer as a top-line power forward.
Kane arrived in Buffalo as the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade under former general manager Tim Murray in February 2015 when Buffalo sent defenseman Tyler Myers, forward Drew Stafford, two prospects and a first-round pick to Winnipeg in exchange for Kane, defenseman Zach Bogosian and a prospect.
Kane hit the 20-goal mark in each of his three seasons with the Sabres, including a team-best 28 goals in 2016-17.
“I’m excited for what Evander can bring to this team,” said captain Joe Pavelski, who played with Kane on Dynamo Minsk in the KHL during the 2012-13 lockout. “He plays an extremely hard game and I love the edge he plays with.”
Though Kane has produced on the ice when healthy and been active in working with Buffalo-area charitable groups, he has been questioned for his immaturity off the ice.
Kane has had two legal run-ins, including being arrested for grabbing three women by the hair and neck during an altercation at a Buffalo bar in June 2016. The charges were eventually dismissed on condition Kane stayed out of trouble as part of a plea agreement in which a prosecutor described the player’s behavior as “arrogant, boorish and surly, but not criminal.”
Earlier that year, the Sabres suspended Kane for one game for missing practice a day after pictures surfaced on social media of the player celebrating in Toronto after attending the NBA All-Star Game.
Kane has been inconsistent this season. After scoring 15 goals and 18 assists in his first 35 games, he has just five goals and two assists in his past 26.
O’Regan has no goals and four assists in 19 games this season with San Jose. He was a linemate at Boston University with Sabres star Jack Eichel and forward Evan Rodrigues.