The Boston Bruins are a team with a closing Stanley Cup window and are probably going to need to bring in more talent if they want to feasibly accomplish their goal of winning a Championship. The Bruins should also avoid even entering negotiations with Evander Kane following the termination of his contract by the San Jose Sharks. Both things can and should be true.
While the Bruins have started off the 2022 calendar year in a big way, going 4-1-0 with a well-rounded scoring attack, it’s unrealistic to think that the team would feel confident entering the playoffs without adding to their roster. In all fairness, there can never be too much talent on a team trying to compete for a Championship in sports, so that should be true of all Championship contenders. While there’s a legitimate discussion to be had about having too many mouths to feed, egos getting in the way and the like, good coaching and a unified goal can triumph those discussions in the short term.
At the same time, though, talent alone doesn’t necessarily mean a player is a worthwhile acquisition. While there can be positive intangibles that undeniably raise the ceiling of the perception of a player around the league, there are also negative detractors that also have to be considered. Especially when those detractors can just as easily break a team’s chemistry apart as good leadership can help transform a team’s identity.
In the case of Kane, there’s no denying the talent that he has when it comes to the game of hockey. The 30-year-old winger has proven time and time again that he can consistently produce offensively in the NHL and is a perennial 20-goal scorer with a few 30-goal campaigns under his belt.
Kane’s Long List of Issues Are Too Much To Ignore
Even knowing that nobody is denying his talent, it’s interesting then that he’s such a polarizing figure in the NHL and has been throughout his career. Dating back to his time with the Winnipeg Jets, there were always discussions about his attitude in the locker room as well as his estranged relationship with many of his teammates. These storylines would follow him to the Buffalo Sabres and eventually the Sharks as well.
While “character issues” can be used as a blanket statement for a lot of different things, it’s hard to ignore the long list of baggage that has come out over the course of Kane’s career; especially over the past few years with some significant claims and investigations made against him. While there was deemed to be “no evidence” of these issues, the suggested existence of them coupled with all of the other problems that keep arising in regards to Kane cast an undeniable shadow on his career.
Even if Kane wins his grievance filed by the NHLPA on his behalf, that doesn’t change the fact that adding a player with so much of a history would cause more damage than it would create benefits for the Bruins as a whole. The Bruins have a good leadership group on the team led by captain Patrice Bergeron and it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to bring in someone like Kane who time and time again has found himself on the outside looking in with regards to team chemistry.
Kane is likely going to find himself a home on a one-year contract to play out the remainder of the 2021-22 season. While there already appear to be multiple suitors interested in taking a waiver on Kane, the Bruins shouldn’t be one of them. Even if they feel the benefit of getting the talent of a player like Kane is too good to pass up on a team-friendly contract, talent alone should never be a deciding factor in these types of decisions, as mentioned.
With the Bruins riding such a hot streak right now, it would be wise to play out the rest of the season up to the 2022 Trade Deadline and figure out what their most pressing needs are at that time. Whether it’s bringing in a more established No. 2 center to the team, bolstering their blueline or just bringing in an extra body who can score, there are certainly options.
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With that said, team fit is also a very important factor to consider here and that doesn’t just include on-ice fit. When the Trade Deadline rolls around, the Bruins should have an idea of what they need and who’s available. For now, they should see what they have and let another team try and keep Kane under control; something three other NHL teams have tried and failed at thus far.