It’s been a while since Evander Kane saw any sort of NHL action, nearly nine months to be exact.
The 24-year old Vancouver native underwent surgery to repair a lingering shoulder problem that cost him the rest of the 2014-15 season. In fact, just days after the procedure, Kane was dealt to Buffalo in the deal that sent Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford up to Winnipeg.
Kane’s recovery from the torn labrum was a slow and steady one. He finally got back on the ice for the first time in June to test the waters before really getting back into the on-ice training in late July and early August.
Claiming that he’s fully healed and ready to go as training camp gets underway, Kane isn’t holding anything back when it comes to the type of production he expects out of himself for the upcoming season and beyond.
“If I could ever play 82 games, which I’m hoping to do this year, obviously I can score 30 goals,” he said. “‘Will I?’ is more the question. I hope to score as many goals as possible. Thirty is just kind of a set number. I’ve already scored 30 so maybe I want to score 40 or 50.”
Kane did admit that he feels like he’s learning how to play the game again. From the skating to the handling, Kane knows he has has some work to do before he can produce at the level he feels he’s capable of.
“I’m sure there’s going to be some rust throughout camp and through the preseason, especially, having not played in eight/nine months,” he said. “But by the time the regular season comes I’ll be good to go.”
For Kane to have the shoulder problem that had been bothering him for over a year finally taken care of, the ability to just focus on what’s ahead on the ice is a welcomed feeling.
Being well-rested and chomping at the bit to get back on the ice should give one of the Sabres’ key cogs all of the motivation he needs to produce at a high level come the time for the games to begin for real. And being one of the key players, Kane will be looked at to provide a leadership role for the younger players in the dressing room.
“I feel old; I don’t feel 24,” he said. “It’s crazy going into my seventh season already.
“I do have that experience to be able to lead and help out. But at the same time, the best way to lead is usually on the ice so that’s what I’ll try to do.”