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It's official: Sharks sending a first-round pick to Sabres for Kane

Evander Kane has a home. The Buffalo Sabres have a first-round pick.

The San Jose Sharks signed Kane to a seven-year, $49 million contract Thursday, officially giving a first-round pick to the Sabres as a condition of their February trade. The Sharks said the 2019 pick is lottery protected, so if they miss the playoffs next season, the first-round selection can slide to 2020.

The Sharks have made the playoffs in 18 of the last 20 seasons, including the past three.

“I always wanted to stay in San Jose,” Kane said Thursday, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “After the season, that thought never left my mind, and I was happy we were able to get something done.”

Regardless of the year for the Sabres' first-rounder, it's a boost for the team and its need to improve and increase assets. Buffalo has seven selections in next month's NHL Draft, including the first overall pick. As of now, the Sabres hold eight picks in the 2019 Draft, including six in the first four rounds.

As they enter another phase of their rebuild, the stockpile is needed.

In addition to the Sharks' playoff status, another condition remains in the Buffalo-San Jose trade. The Sharks are sending their 2019 fourth-round pick to Buffalo, but they can elect to slide that to a 2020 third-rounder. At the moment, the trade stands as Kane to San Jose for forward Danny O'Regan and first- and fourth-round picks in 2019.

While the Sabres look to the future, the Sharks obviously see the retention of Kane as a boost for their present. They would have given Buffalo a second-round selection in 2019 if Kane didn't re-sign.

"At only 26 years old, Evander has established himself as one of hockey's true power forwards and an impact player," San Jose General Manager Doug Wilson said. "We think his abilities mesh perfectly with our group of skilled, young players and veteran leaders. It's extremely heartening to have Evander join a trend of elite players who have chosen to remain in San Jose."

The Sharks hope Kane helps them continue their run of success. He had nine goals and 14 points in 17 games after the trade, then added four goals and five points in nine playoff games. He played through knee and shoulder injuries.

“The one thing about this team, this group and this organization is they allow you to be yourself,” Kane said. “They embrace you for who you are, and it’s a very unselfish group that makes it super easy to come into and mesh well with.”

In a career-high 78 regular-season games with San Jose and Buffalo, Kane totaled 29 goals and 54 points. He tied for second in the NHL with four short-handed goals. He joined Dallas' Jamie Benn and Anaheim's Corey Perry as the only players to finish with at least 15 goals, 150 shots and 50 penalty minutes in each of the last seven seasons.

From his 2009 draft class, only John Tavares and Matt Duchene have scored more goals than Kane (186). His point total (354) ranks fifth in the draft class. Since Kane entered the NHL during the 2009-10 season, only Alex Ovechkin averages more shots per game (4.57) than Kane (3.57).

“It’s good to be wanted,” Kane said. “I wanted them just as much as they wanted me. The fact we were able to work out a deal so quickly reflects that.”

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