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With about 50 minutes left before Monday's 3 p.m. ET NHL trade deadline, the San Jose Sharks finally took one of the blue-chip pieces off the market. The Sabres will be sending Evander Kane to San Jose for a conditional first-round pick, prospect Dan O'Regan and a 2020 fourth-round pick. The move leaves Erik Karlsson as the biggest piece not to move at the deadline.
The 2019 first-rounder will become a 2019 second-rounder if Kane ends up walking in free agency after the season is done.
The 26-year-old winger was one of the most coveted players in the league at the deadline, and the package to acquire him was hardly back-breaking. With the Predators giving up a first-rounder for Ryan Hartman and the Bruins giving a huge package for Rick Nash, the Sharks actually got a rental still in his prime as they try to make a push of their own.
Although Kane is an unrestricted free agent after this season, he brings a unique talent to San Jose. With 20 goals and 20 assists this year, the winger joins the Sharks second in goals, and can be an immediate plug-and-play on the first line alongside center Logan Couture.
The move is huge for the Sharks, who are currently chasing the Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division. It's very much an end-game oriented move, as they're 11 games back of Vegas, but it undoubtedly puts San Jose in a position to try and play with the Golden Knights and Predators in the Western Conference once the postseason hits. While it doesn't make them Stanley Cup favorites by any means, it certainly puts them in the conversation.
For the Sabres, the deal may be seen as a bit of a disappointment. Or a giant one. After watching the Rangers get three players and two picks for a 33-year-old rental in Nash, acquiring a prospect and two picks for a winger still in his prime and the same amount of points as Nash may be bittersweet. The Sabres were starting to push up against the deadline, and they may have felt the heat. The fact was, Kane simply couldn't be on the roster when the deadline hit.
The Sharks, meanwhile, come out as huge winners of the deadline. The hope is that they just deepened the conversation of who will win in the Western Conference -- a conversation that previously only felt like it included the Predators, Golden Knights and Jets. Where the Golden Knights have been quiet, the Jets added Paul Stastny from the Blues while the Predators, of course, picked up Hartman. If the Sharks can go into the playoffs with a high enough seed to play at least one series as home, we may see them wreak some havoc in the postseason with a brand new goal-scorer.