WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Jets have made a blockbuster trade that deals away one of their best-known and most controversial star players.
The NHL club confirmed in a news release Wednesday morning that forward Evander Kane and defenceman Zach Bogosian are being traded to the Buffalo Sabres.
In return the Jets get forward Drew Stafford, defenceman Tyler Myers, prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux, who is the son of former NHLer Claude Lemieux. The deal also involves the Sabres giving the Jets a future first round draft pick.
General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff discussed the trade at a noon news conference carried live on globalnews.ca/winnipeg.
“I’m excited about what this trade brings to our organization,” Cheveldayoff said. “At the end of the day it is a big deal but we think it’s something that’s going to help us both in the short-term and really help us in the long-term.
“I feel good with the team now but I’m really excited about the prospects of the future in this whole deal.”
Kane was the Jets’ biggest trade chip despite being out for the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
In dealing Kane before next month’s NHL trade deadline, the franchise loaded up for a run at its first playoff appearance since moving to Winnipeg in 2011.
The six-foot-two, 195-pound Vancouver native had 10 goals and 12 points in 37 games this season. But he was also a regular source of off-ice distraction for the club. Kane generated negative headlines and social media buzz when he posted photos of himself posing with large stacks of money. In 2013 he was forced to apologize for a tweet in which he referred to NBA player Chris Bosh as “a fairy.”
But the cloud over Kane reached its worst last week when he was absent from a game in his hometown Vancouver. There were reports Kane arrived at the arena in a track suit which violates the club’s dress code, and team mate Dustin Byfuglien responded by throwing Kane’s clothes in the shower. Kane left the rink and didn’t return.
Cheveldayoff wouldn’t say if Kane’s controversies contributed to the decision to deal him away.
“Those things are obviously things that transpired, we will keep those inhouse,” he said. “This was a situation where we looked to address something now and to the future.”
Jets captain Andrew Ladd was pleased the deal brought in players who can immediately help Winnipeg with its playoff push.
“Anytime we can add to our drive right now, I think (Cheveldayoff) sends a message he believes in our group,” Ladd said. “I know he’s pretty happy with how things have played out this year and then the work that we’ve put in, so as a player it’s exciting to have a couple guys come here to try to help us win some games.”
With files from Canadian Press