Buffalo - February 23, 2015 - So far, so good for Evander Kane in Buffalo.
Sure, he hasn’t suited up yet and he won’t do so for the remainder of the 2014-15 season, but at his introductory press conference on Saturday he had all the right things to say.
"It's definitely exciting to be here and meet the guys and see the city a little bit," Kane said at First Niagara Center. "The facility that they have here, it's pretty phenomenal. My excitement was definitely met since first coming here."
It’s been relatively quiet on Kane’s front since the blockbuster deal back on February 11th that saw he and defenseman Zach Bogosian sent to Buffalo for defenseman Tyler Myers, winger Drew Stafford, prospects Brendan Lemieux and Joel Armia as well as a first-round pick in 2015.
Kane will miss the remainder of the season, having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He had surgery back on February 7th with a 4-6 month recovery timeline.
"The surgery was a little more complicated than they thought it was," Kane said. "There's a hole actually in my shoulder as well. But everything is fixed and good to go now. I'm looking forward to getting healthy again for sure."
Obviously, Kane joins the worst team in the NHL as of today, but he joins one that could be on the upswing very soon. The team might be bad now, but the rebuild effort has brought in a lot of young, promising talent into the mix. That’s not even counting the potential top pick they could have this year, with generational talents Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid being the top prizes. They also have a nice young core with Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons up front, while Nikita Zadorov and Rasmus Ristolainen have become staples of the lineup this year.
"I think they're headed in the right direction," Kane said. "They have a lot of good, young prospects. Getting a top pick will obviously speed that up. I don't think they're going to be sitting around trying to wait years and years and years to rebuild this thing. I think they're trying to do it as soon as possible, and obviously when players get better, that also helps too. Hopefully we'll all get better."
Buffalo should be excited for the arrival of Kane to the lineup. Despite his issues in Winnipeg, he’s got the talent and drive that could make him a 40-goal scorer in the NHL and playing next to a generational playmaking talent will certainly make everyone in Buffalo salivate.
Until then, like the rest of the rebuild, it’s just a matter of waiting.
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