Heading into the offseason, there are two needs that Flyers fans are clamoring for new GM Ron Hextall to address. The first is to add a top pairing (ideally #1) puck-moving defenseman. The second is to find a left wing to play alongside Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. The Vinny Lecavalier at wing experiment failed miserably, fans want to run Scott Hartnell out of town after the playoffs, and Michael Raffl is not a first line winger.
If Ron Hextall is smart, he is spending significantly more time and resources trying to fix the defensive problem. After all, Giroux managed the third most points in the league, Hartnell-Giroux-Voracek combined for 200 points in the regular season, the Flyers’ offense was 8th best in the NHL. Conversely, the Flyers allowed the 11th most goals and 12th most shots in the NHL. One seems like a slightly more pressing problem than the other. However…
Evander Kane, The Player
Evander Kane is currently under contract with the Jets for four more years at a cap hit of $5.25 million, which is regarded among most as being a reasonable cap hit for a player with his “potential”.
His playing style is that of a new-age power forward. He is more of a goalscorer than a playmaker, and adds good skating on top of the traditional physicality expected of a power forward. Despite playing five years in the league, he is still regarded as a player that has a lot of potential yet to be realized.
Evander Kane, The Trade Target
In his five years in the Jets’ organization, there have been three different reports of Kane requesting a trade, and three denials that a request existed. In addition, Kane was recently scratched for violating team rules for a game in 2013-14. It was rumored to have been a result of partying and breaking curfew in Toronto. There was speculation that he skipped out on restaurant bills, got a concussion from an off-ice incident, and there was the infamous money flaunting photo.
Personally, I think most of the rumors and speculation are false and overblown, but it’s something to think about when bringing a player to media-crazed Philadelphia. When evaluating a trade, one must consider the cost, and the benefit of the return. The Flyers could land any left wing in the world in a trade, but if the cost isn’t right, it doesn’t matter.
In a recent thread over on HFBoards, the following proposals were made by Jets fans to bring Evander Kane to Philadelphia:
- Brayden Schenn, Braydon Coburn, Samuel Morin, 2nd Round Pick
- Brayden Schenn, Matt Read, 2nd Round Pick
- Scott Laughton, Matt Read, 1st Round Pick
- Braydon Coburn, Matt Read, 1st Round Pick, 2nd Round Pick
Seems like a pretty hefty price to pay. To get a better gauge on his value, let’s look at him compared to the two most common players traded by the Flyers, Brayden Schenn and Matt Read. Here is their 2013-14 production:
Kane pretty clearly has the advantage on a per-game basis. However, he also averaged over four minutes on ice per game more than Brayden Schenn, and 1:32 more than Matt Read. The below table shows the point totals of each player if they played the exact same amount of even strength, power play, and penalty kill time as Evander Kane (63 games worth).
Looking only at offense, Evander Kane was around 2.5 points better than Matt Read, and about five points better than Brayden Schenn. So, offensively, there really is not that much of a gap between the three.
In terms of intangibles, Kane brings a physical edge to the table. Brayden Schenn lays a big hit every once in awhile, but is not as consistently physical as Kane. Read is a very strong two-way player, and is very versatile. I would say Read’s “intangibles” are overall more valuable than Kane’s. So, the true value of Kane’s total on-ice performance is slightly larger than the gap between he and Schenn offensively, and slightly smaller than the gap between he and Read offensively.
As mentioned previously, Evander Kane is signed for four more years at $5.25 million. Read is signed for four more years at $3.625 million, and Brayden Schenn is a restricted free agent that will probably make around $3 million per year. For some reason, Kane’s cap hit is seen as a reasonable number, despite the fact that Kane has broken the 25 goal or 50 point barrier just once in his career.
If you hadn’t figured it out yet, the Flyers trading for Evander Kane makes absolutely no sense. From a pure cost perspective, the Jets are demanding entirely too much for a player that has accomplished what Kane has. He has proven to only be a marginally better player than Brayden Schenn and Matt Read. However, the Jets want both of them, and more. On top of that, Kane has been involved in more off-ice incidents than one would prefer when dealing the above packages. Finally, his contract is actually not a bargain at all.
If Kevin Cheveldayoff calls Ron Hextall to talk trades, it should be about Zach Bogosian or Dustin Byfuglien, not Evander Kane. The Flyers’ problems on defense are significant, and if the Flyers are going to deal valuable pieces like Schenn, Read, Laughton, and 1st/2nd round picks, a young defenseman better be coming back, not another forward.