Evander Kane has heard the rumours that he could be traded this off-season, but the 25-year-old says he's hoping to spend the 2017-18 season with the Buffalo Sabres.
Kane's name has come up in the rumour mill since the Sabres fired general manager Tim Murray. He owns a $5.25 million cap hit and is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency next July.
He's ranked ninth on the TSN Hockey Trade Bait board as TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli wrote, "it’s believed (Sabres GM Jason) Botterill is listening to offers on the mercurial Vancouver native, who is coming off his second-most productive season with 28 goals."
“Do I worry about the rumours? No. The funny part about rumours is that if you don’t know something is going on, then nobody else does," Kane told the Vancouver Province on Friday. "I have an agent (Don Meehan) who is knowledgeable and tapped in. He gives me updates when I need updates. I’d like to think I’m well informed when I need to be.”
“I’m getting prepared to start another NHL season. Hopefully it’s in Buffalo,” Kane added.
Kane got off to a slow start last season, missing close to a month after breaking ribs in the Sabres' season opener against the Montreal Canadiens. He opened the year on a 12-game goal drought before scoring 28 goals in his next 58 games.
“I came back too early from the rib injury, but it was because I was hungry to play and wanted to play,” Kane told the Province of his early struggles.
“It took me a little while to get back into the swing of things. In those final 58 games, I thought I showed consistency offensively."
Kane believes his previous off-ice issues, such as the circumstances leading to his 2015 trade to the Sabres from the Winnipeg Jets, are behind him and says he plans to let his play dictate how much his next contract will be worth.
“I thought I did a pretty good job of that last season,” Kane said of keeping the focus on his on-ice play. “I’m just going to continue to let my play on the ice do all the negotiating and talking and answering for me.
“When it comes to me as a player, I’m always 100 per cent. I always put my best foot forward, no matter how I am feeling, no matter what type of injuries I have going on. I always try to play to the best of my ability and always try to be a factor, whether that’s scoring or being physical or blocking shots. I want to help my team win and I think I’ve proven that over the course of my career.”
Kane owns 157 goals and 300 points in 497 career games. He was selected fourth overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2009 NHL Draft.