Is trading for Evander Kane worth the headache?

Is Evander Kane worth the headache?

With the draft approaching, the Islanders could be looking to flip their 5th overall pick to another team for a proven commodity.

Evander Kane has been swirling around the rumor mill. Recent history has not been kind to the relationship between the Winnipeg Jets and Evander Kane. The last we heard about Kane and where he thinks he will be for the foreseeable future was back in April when Kane was a healthy scratch in Toronto.

What is a player of his talent doing being a healthy scratch? (Photo Credit: Flickr/FrenchKheldar)

Winnipeg head coach Paul Maurice was noted to be quite soured on his 22 year old winger and seemed to be sick of his immaturity at the end of a tough season for the Jets.

Besides his relationship rift with the Jets staff, he is currently in the middle of a civil dispute in which he is accused of attacking someone in Vancouver. He is stating that he was acting in self-defense but he still has to work to clear his name. It seems that trouble follows Evander around.

The Jets need to decide whether or not Maurice and Kane can co-exist. If not, they may have to nix one from the payroll.

History shows that it isn’t just Paul Maurice who would be rubbed the wrong way by Kane’s immature antics off the ice.

A lot of those higher ups in hockey feel the same way about hard work and putting team first. Something Evander has trouble doing. If actions speak louder than words, he has shown how selfish he is since being selected 4th overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009.

Kane could be a problem for any coach that Winnipeg brings in. They do say that winning is the best deodorant but it doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon for the Jets.  Kane is locked up for a significant amount of time after signing a 6 year extension back in 2012-13. If he was to go, he’d have to be traded and now may be the perfect time.

That brings us to the question:  Will Evander Kane be worth the headache for the New York Islanders?

Early gut feeling says yes. The Islanders, who function like a small market team, have to take risks in order to bring talent in Uniondale. They have to use an unorthodox strategy in order to put a talented team together and this may be the best option them when looking for another reliable source of scoring.

Evander Kane has scored 30 goals as recently as 2011-12 with the Atlanta Thrashers. He hasn’t found his niche since the team moved to Winnipeg and the off the ice issues make his lack luster performance harder to swallow.

He has the potential of being a top tier talent and is still so young. The key to maximizing the talent of this skilled player is to put him in a situation in which he is happy. Maybe the answer to his complacency could be playing with John Tavares and Kyle Okposo on the top line with the Islanders.

His extension has him locked up for another 4 years with a very reasonable contract netting him $5.25 million per year. That is certainly doable for an Islanders team that has plenty of cap space with their young roster. The extension lends itself into the Isles plans if they can get him to the Island because they don’t have to worry about all of the logistics of signing the player and convincing them to stay. He’d be here for better or for worse.

Winning does cure everything.

Look at Patrick Kane for the Chicago Blackhawks and all of his transgressions off the ice. That relationship seems to be just fine as long as he is contributing on the ice. They are willing to look past the public intoxication, punching cab drivers and overall immaturity if it means they are near the Stanley Cup every year. Again, winning is the best deodorant. There is a reason that the Yankees of the late 70s were affectionately called the ‘Bronx Zoo’ and heralded for their dysfunctional behavior. THEY WON.

Do you honestly think that any Isles fan will care if Evander Kane is posting pictures of himself partying on Instagram if it meant we’d be in the Conference Finals? Nope.

Do you think we will care that he isn’t taking his offseason work outs seriously if he stills shows up in October and does his job? Nope.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

However, the hecklers could come out in numbers if they don’t start to win. Islanders’ fans will be willing to accept Evander Kane with all of his warts if he scores 30 and has the team playing competitive hockey in April. Those are all big ifs.

The Islanders have a tight knit group that could welcome him with open arms or divide them in opinion. It could go either way and is certainly a calculated risk.

 Kane has the attitude and reputation that could become a locker room cancer. Garth Snow has to ask himself if he trusts the culture of the locker room for them to change Evander Kane’s perception on how to play the game of hockey as a team player. It is vital.

It is paramount to ask ourselves if the Islanders will be able to get something in the 2014 draft that will help them next year more than Evander Kane would. The answer is absolutely not.

There are young talented players scattered through the draft.  Michael Dal Colle, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Nick Ritchie are all highly touted winger prospects and could add to the already deep Isles' farm. However, they don't fill the gap now. The clock is ticking to construct a team around a certified superstar and franchise player, John Tavares.

They have John Tavares locked up until 2018 and the hope is that the Isles could at least get close to the Stanley Cup before then.

Evander Kane MAY have his issues and the newspapers MAY have a field day if it goes poorly. But there is a chance that he could prove the doubters wrong. There is a chance he could find his way on Long Island/Brooklyn. There is a lot to be said about a change in scenery.

It is a risk that the Islanders have to take. Paired with Halak, bringing in Kane could have the fans stop looking to distant future. We could legitimately have a chance to win next year.

Evander Kane is worth the headache because our heads have already been throbbing for 20 + years.

-Steve Giangaspro

 

Comments

rmo214's picture

Just wondering, If you were Garth Snow, and you wanted to trade for Kane, who would you give up and who would you think the Jets would take? Keep up the good work. Always enjoy the articles from everyone on this site.