For anyone following the Winnipeg Jets since 2011, the current chapter in the Evander Kane saga can’t be surprising. The big surprise here would be that it has taken this long to for Kane’s situation to implode to the degree it recently has.
Edmonton - February 8, 2015 - For anyone following the Winnipeg Jets since 2011, the current chapter in the Evander Kane saga can’t be surprising. The big surprise here would be that it has taken this long to for Kane’s situation to implode the way it recently has.
From day one, Kane showed signs of being a problem child who sought the bright lights and attention of a bigger center. The first salvo fired (albeit a quiet one) came in an interview where he indicated he would regret leaving Atlanta, when it was announced the then Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg.
Followed up by vague comments indicating he would not be opposed to a trade, liking a tweet that implied a trade to Philadelphia was possible, being a documented dine and dasher at Winnipeg restaurants, and of course, his foolish and immature Instagram photos illustrating hubris or stupidity depending on your perspective.
And now there is track gate. Apparently offended by Kane’s refusal to follow team protocol, a teammate tossed the pricey tracksuit he wore to team meeting into the shower. Kane apparently was not impressed.
Kane was subsequently suspended for breaking team code, and his rebuttal was to move forward with surgery that he previously was putting off until the end of the season. The move was a clear snub sent the way of the Jet’s franchise as the team is now missing a useful piece in the middle of a stalled playoff run.
And through this entire ordeal, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has somehow remained silent. Having had many an opportunity to move a valuable asset that clearly showed little interest in committing to playing in Winnipeg, he is now faced with a much bigger problem, and the realization he should have moved the player when he had the chance.
There are some GM’s who talk too much (see Brian Burke) but this is the time for Cheveldayoff to show some leadership and manage the situation, and confidently address the media but apparently that is not his style. It seems he is secretly hoping the situation will sort itself out and simply blow over.
Unfortunately, this time it won’t. The recent Kane Jersey tossing was a clear sign the natives are restless, and looking for blood. So even though Kane is on the IR, he can be traded but will he fetch the ransom you would expect?
When past trade rumours with Philadelphia Flyers were heating up, the main player mentioned coming back was Sean Couturier, definitely a reasonable return but after this additional drama . . .
In a recent story, Sportsnet had indicated the main player in any Philly offering would be Brayden Schenn, and that is it. While Schenn is a decent player, he is not Evander Kane…not by a long shot. The unfortunate side effect of Chevy’s procrastination on Kane is that the perception of the player has changed from a burgeoning thirty goal - sixty point power forward, to a physical power forward that could use better hands.
There’s nothing wrong with Kane’s hands. He has been on the third line for much of the season, with special team’s minutes greatly enhancing his ice-time number. If he was on then top line, and was healthy, he would be scoring at a thirty goal pace…no problem. Before this season, the realistic ask would have been a first round pick, a top six player, and a prospect.
Now it appears as though a top six player is all Cheveldayoff can realistically ask for. So by hesitating on moving a player who wanted no part of being in Winnipeg, he has diminished one of the premier assets. So the big question is what happens next?
Do the Jets move him at the upcoming trade deadline, the draft, or the FA deadline? If he wants to maximize the player’s trade value, Chevy won’t trade Kane before the trade deadline, as teams will only give a sizeable chunk for a player they can use in the playoffs. If it was me, I would look to trade him around the draft with the hope you might get a high pick with a top six forward. But I get the feeling the GM has no interest in doing that.
Unless Mark Chipman says otherwise, Cheveldayoff will unbelievably do nothing. He knows now that he won’t get full value, and I don’t believe he will trade him without an equal return. It sounds crazy after what has happened, but Chevy is resolute in his stubbornness, and feels if he lays low, things will cool down, he can have a sit-down with relevant parties, and move on.
It had worked to this point so why not trying it one more time.
The unfortunate thing is, I believe Kane is just smug enough to force a trade by threatening to hold out from playing a la Chris Pronger. And then Cheveldayoff will be painted into an even tighter corner and the return potential return will continue to shrink.
So the Evander Kane story still has a couple of more chapters to be written before we can turn the page on the Winnipeg years. Having said that, make no mistake…be it because of the player’s rogue attitude or the general manager’s indecisiveness; this will come to an end prior to the start of the 2015-16 season.