On Saturday, the San Jose Sharks placed Evander Kane on unconditional waivers in order to terminate his contract. Given the drama surrounding him, as well as the fact that he still had three more seasons after this on his deal that carried a cap hit of $7 million, the fact he went unclaimed surprised absolutely no one. However, now that he is an unrestricted free agent, there are reports that several teams have reached out to his agent.
One team who is being linked to him is the Edmonton Oilers, which makes plenty of sense given their lack of depth scoring. Another team who lacks depth scoring and should be after him is their cross-town rival in the Calgary Flames. Outside of Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm, this team isn’t getting much of any scoring from their forward group, making Kane an intriguing option.
Good Fit for Short Term
There will be several fans that think the Flames should stay away from Kane, and they have valid concerns. The 30-year-old has been a source of nonstop controversy over the past year, as he can’t seem to stay out of his own way when it to creating negative press. This season, he has already served a 21-game suspension after allegedly using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, and was just terminated by the Sharks due to violating COVID protocols.
While most controversial headlines surrounding him have been brought to light in the past year, it has been well known since he came into the league that Kane isn’t the most liked guy in dressing rooms, as he often seems to place his own interests ahead of his teams. However, there is no denying his overall talent level, which is the reason why the Sharks signed him to a seven-year, $49 million deal prior to the 2018-19 season.
Though he was in the news for all the wrong things during the 2020-21 season, he was fantastic on ice, putting up a team-leading 49 points in 56 games. While it was shaping up to be the best offensive season of his career, he was already well established as an offensive power forward thanks to a number of solid seasons over his 769-game career.
Flames Need Forward Depth
This past week, the Flames played three of the top teams in the NHL in the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes, and were beaten rather easily in all three. The biggest issue appeared to be their forward depth, as their bottom six is lacking any sort of offensive talent.
It goes without saying that Kane would help in that regard in a big way, as he is a physical presence who can put the puck back in the net, making him a player that can play up and down the lineup. What makes him even more of an attractive option is that given the hit his reputation his taken over the past 12 or so months, he will likely be forced to sign a very cheap contract, perhaps one that pays him under $1 million. That would mean that the Flames could sign him and still make other move(s) at the deadline to further improve their roster.
Kane Presents Low Risk, High Reward Opportunity
The other thing important to remember about adding Kane is that he knows by now where he stands in the league. The only reason he would even getting another chance is because he is a great player, but he is running out of opportunities. One would think that he would be on his best behaviour given the circumstances, and you can bet that wherever he ends up he will be told that he will be cut if he makes any mistakes.
This means that if the Flames coaching staff, in particular Darryl Sutter, sees anything they don’t like from him character wise, he would be let go instantly. Sutter is a no nonsense type of guy who has built a great culture in this Flames dressing room, and he won’t let that be ruined. At the same time, if there is one coach that straighten Kane out, Sutter would be just that. This move is one that is worth it for the Flames to try, and one that could greatly improve their chances at a Stanley Cup run this season.
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Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.