Evander in Edmonton? Get Your Popcorn Ready

Evander Kane [photo: Amy Irvin]
[photo: Amy Irvin]
It appears that Evander Kane may be on his way out of Winnipeg.

Following various off-ice incidents and issues with teammates this past week, Kane elected to undergo season ending surgery to repair a damaged labrum in his left shoulder, effectively ending his season. The slated recovery period from the surgery is four to six months.

[News: Evander Kane Was Traded To Buffalo]

At this point, it seems best for Kane and the Jets to part ways, as off-ice incidents have soured Evander’s reputation and left many questioning his dedication to the game.

At the age of 23, Kane is an explosive winger as well as a proven goal scorer, having netted 30 with the Jets in 2011-12. A dynamic player, Kane has solid size at 6 foot 2 and 195 pounds to go along with tremendous skill and speed. As a result, Kane can fulfill a top six role on virtually every team in the NHL.

Moving On?

It has been widely suggested that the Winnipeg Jets and Evander Kane go their separate ways, discourse which has led to a bevy of different trade rumours. Teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks are among the many interested in Kane’s services and should be considered the front runners considering they have quality assets to move.

However, so too do the Edmonton Oilers, who despite their futile position in the standings, would do well to add an elite talent to their current core of players.

Striking Oil

(Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)
(Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports)

While it’s not an immediate area of concern, adding a gritty and skilled forward with size would be a significant upgrade to the current Oilers roster.

Although they already boast the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, the addition of Evander Kane would add a dynamic, physical element to the Oilers game alongside Kane’s offensive abilities.

Despite their vulnerability on both defence and in goal, the acquisition another top six forward would surely benefit the Oilers depth up front, allowing for Edmonton to begin constructing a secondary scoring threat rather than relying on Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins to provide the majority of the offense.

The Cost?

Acquiring Evander Kane would be an amazing feat for the Edmonton Oilers, however it would come at a steep cost.

Kane’s current contract, six years and $31.5 million dollars, does not expire until 2018 and pays Evander $6 million dollars in base salary over the next three seasons. Since Kane is under the Jets’ control for another three years at a modest $5.25 million dollar cap hit, he becomes even more valuable.

However, as witnessed recently and throughout his career, off-ice drama and various incidents with Kane have decreased his value, especially in the eyes of interested clubs. It is difficult to speculate how severely these issues impact Kane’s trade value, however one would have to assume a number of once curious clubs are no longer interested due to the sideshow attached to Kane’s name.

Realistically, landing Kane would cost the Oilers some pretty significant assets. Since the Jets are in the middle of a playoff race, they would certainly emphasize adding a player, or two, who can help them now rather than later.

Is Jeff Petry on the block? (Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)
(Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Jeff Petry could be a solid option for the Jets. Petry would strengthen Winnipeg’s defence as well as add some offence, although his contract does expire at the end of this season.

Teddy Purcell would be another interesting option, who at 6 foot 2, 200 pounds, would replace the size, strength and to a degree the scoring depth of the departed Kane. With one year remaining on his contract at $4.5 million per year, a strong 2015-16 would allow Purcell to audition for a new contract with the Jets before hitting free agency.

Don’t forget about draft picks! The Oilers could certainly swing a deal given their arsenal of valuable draft picks, however whether the Jets are interesting in various draft picks is a question which must first be answered.

The Bottom Line

If the Oilers feel they can cope with Kane’s off-ice issues as well as move his focus strictly towards hockey, the acquisition of Evander Kane could be a fantastic move by the Oilers in the right situation. A player of tremendous skill, size and ability, Kane’s presence on the Oilers roster would fill a top six forward role for the considerable future.