Should Holland Bring In Evander Kane?
I hate that I am even writing this. I do not like Evander Kane. It doesn't matter what team he has gone to, inevitably reports have come out about issues in the locker room, issues with his personal life, and even legal issues.
Here are just some of the reported incidents involving Evander Kane:
- submitted a fake vaccination card and travelled to Vancouver while COVID positive
- filed for bankruptcy
- gambling issues including betting on his own games
- sexual assault and domestic battery allegations by his estranged wife
Now some of these allegations have not resulted in charges. The allegations of sexual assault and battery were made by his wife during a custody battle in which Evander was awarded full custody of their child. Anna, his wife was subsequently ordered by the judge to take a physiological evaluation. Regardless, trouble has followed Kane throughout his career, with his refusal to follow COVID policies being the most recent and the reason the Sharks are filing to terminate his contract.
If Kane wasn't a really good hockey player we wouldn't even be discussing this but he is and the Oilers are struggling so here we are.
For a moment, let's just ignore everything we know about Kane the person and focus on Kane the player.
Evander Kane is a 30 year old left winger and one of the few remaining true power forwards in the NHL. He is an absolute pest to play against and regularly is among his team leader in both hits and penalty minutes. The Oilers once again are looking like a team that is unable to engage in the more physical aspects of play and have rarely played with an edge. That is something that Kane can bring in spades.
The physical aspect is only one part of being a true power forward. The other part is the player's ability to produce and help control pace of play which is another area that Kane excels in. From 18/19 to 20/21, Kane ranks 38th in the NHL in 5 on 5 goals with 42.
The best part about adding Evander Kane would also be he would come ridiculously cheap. Any team that is taking a flyer on Kane would be doing so for pennies on the dollar and pennies is really all that the Oilers have right now in terms of cap space. It is rare to add such an effective top six winger for only cash and such a small amount of cash as well.
Adding Kane right now helps stabilize the left side for Edmonton as Ryan Nugent Hopkins is out for the next 3-4 weeks. Once RNH is back, it gives the Oilers even more depth in their lineup and the ability to run something like this:
All this isn't just talk either. Darren Dreger has reported that Ken Holland has at the very least spoken with Dan Milstein, Evander Kane's agent. There is still some uncertainty on when a team can sign Kane due to the process the Sharks are currently going through but regardless there are teams interested in the player and Edmonton appears to be one of them.
Now, if the Oilers were to bring in Kane it should only be on a one year deal. Play him, hope he keeps his mouth shut and plays good hockey, helps the team go on a successful playoff run and then let him walk back into free agency and never give him a second thought.
At the end of the day here are the questions you need to ask yourself.
1) Does Kane deserve another chance in the NHL?
2) Does Evander Kane make the Edmonton Oilers a better team?
3) Can this dressing room handle Evander Kane for less than a full season?
If you answer no to Question #1 that is a completely fair and reasonable take and I would find it hard to question you. If you believe he does or maybe you are like me and simply believes he will play in the NHL again whether he deserves it or not, than it is undeniable that he would help the on ice quality of this team. Holland and Tippett have dug a massive hole that this team is struggling to get out of. If Edmonton was performing well than we wouldn't be having this conversation but they are and so here we are.
What say you? Would you bring in Evander Kane?