January 18, 2018 | 9:58pm ET



Evander Kane, left wing


Evander Kane knows the Buffalo Sabres are going to trade him before the Feb. 26 deadline, but he might not have expected them to avoid contract talks this season.

Kane, 26, is in the final year of a six-year, $31.25 million contract and will become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

The Sabres are looking to move him and are reportedly asking for as many as four assets coming back their way – a first-round draft pick, an NHL roster player, a top prospect and another draft pick, likely conditional.

Trade talks are well underway, and will continue to pick up steam, but the door has most certainly closed on any contract discussions, as Kane confirmed to the Buffalo News they never even started.

“Does it surprise me? Well, I've said many times nothing really surprises me,” Kane told The News. “This is all part of the business. Both sides. We're in different situations and I understand it all. One thing I've always said is that I've really really enjoyed my time here and will continue to do so for as long as I'm here. My focus is simply game to game, keeping the focus narrow.”

Kane admitted he would have been “absolutely” open to discussing an extension with the Sabres, had the opportunity presented itself. But the Sabres never approached his camp about it.

Several teams are believed to be interested in Kane, including the St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins, and the News reports the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings are also in the mix.

“I'm aware of what's going on. I stay fully aware of my situation even though I don't necessarily do a lot of reading,” Kane said. “I'm in the loop. I don't think there's anybody in the loop more than myself and my agents. Reading doesn't really get me anywhere, doesn't give you any more information that I can't get on my own.”

Kane ranks #1 on our Top 30 Available Players List.