As the trade deadline approaches, there's a high-scoring 26-year-old winger in Buffalo who's likely to command plenty of attention.
That would be Evander Kane, who has recorded 18 goals in 58 contests this season, and who's averaging 26 goals for every 82 games played over the course of his career.
Kane can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, and Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is believed to be seeking a first-round pick, a prospect or young roster player, and possibly a conditional pick based on whether Kane re-signs with the acquiring team.
The Sabres, then, are looking to cash in on this asset while they can, with the following three teams serving as logical suitors.
The Kings are reportedly looking to trade for a forward after pulling off a deal to acquire defenseman Dion Phaneuf. One only has to look at the top line to see there’s clearly a spot for Kane on this roster.
Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are having much-needed bounce-back seasons for Los Angeles, with rookie forward Alex Iafallo on the left side of that unit. The 24-year-old has contributed six goals and 13 assists in 55 games, but Kane would obviously provide a significant upgrade at that position.
With Jeff Carter soon to return from injury, the addition of Kane would give the Kings a formidable top six:
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall can go big ahead of the deadline as the owner of two first-round picks this year: Philadelphia's and another acquired from the St. Louis Blues in last summer's Brayden Schenn trade.
On top of that, they also received a first-round pick in 2017 that was used to select forward Morgan Frost, who has been dominating at the OHL level this season.
Philadelphia is in position to qualify for a playoff spot after missing out last year, and Hextall has the aforementioned assets at his disposal to improve the current roster without sacrificing other promising prospects picked up over the past few years. Having said that, Buffalo could very well insist on a young defenseman to be included in a package, of which Philadelphia has plenty.
Remember, Anaheim advanced to the Conference Finals last year, and the Ducks were counting on Patrick Eaves to provide some scoring, but he's been out of the lineup since October with Guillain-Barre syndrome with no timetable for return.
The Ducks could then even look to flip Antoine Vermette and his expiring contract to a team in need a depth down the middle, thereby possibly recouping a pick or prospect while filling the fourth-line center spot with Andrew Cogliano, who's been playing on Kesler's left side.
This team still has Cup aspirations, and Kane could certainly help these Ducks fly over that hump.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)