Evander Kane knows his phone could crackle today, tomorrow, next week or that he might have to wait all the way until the NHL's trade deadline on Feb. 26. The Sabres' winger, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1, knows the call is inevitably coming. He's going to be traded by the club even though he's the team's second-leading goal scorer and, at age 26, is in the prime of his career. The Internet has been rumbling in recent days on Kane, with TSN reporting the Sabres could be looking for as many as four pieces in return for a player who entered Thursday night's game against the New York Rangers with 16 goals and 20 assists in 36 games. One of those assets the Sabres are reported to be coveting is a first-round pick at the June draft in Dallas. It remains to be seen if first-year General Manager Jason Botterill could pull off such a haul for a rental player. Still, it's known the Sabres have made it clear they're willing to retain some of Kane's salary for the rest of the season as a way to up the ante for potential trade partners. There's no shortage of teams at least pondering the possibility of a Kane trade, with some likely suitors including Pittsburgh, St. Louis, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Nashville and the New York Islanders. Botterill, like predecessor Tim Murray, has been consistent with the message that he will trade players on expiring contracts to reclaim assets rather than have them leave for nothing in free agency. Kane, however, clearly wishes things were different. He's in the final year of a six-year, $31.25 million contract he signed with the Winnipeg Jets in 2012 and confirmed to The Buffalo News this week what has been widely assumed: The Sabres have never negotiated with him on a new deal. "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."