The draft and July 1 are inching closer and closer and the Winnipeg Jets and Evander Kane have still yet to iron out a new contract for the electrifying left winger. Kane’s entry level contract is due to expire on July 1, making him a restricted free agent, at which point other teams are free to bid on him, while being prepared to compensate the Jets with draft picks.
According to RDS’s Renaud P. Lavoie, Kane doesn’t want to negotiate a new contract and may look to be traded.
What’s going on with the Jets ? I hear from a player on Winnipeg that Kane doesn’t want to negotiate a new deal ?
— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) June 16, 2012
Kane had a break-out season for Winnipeg, reaching the 30-goal plateau and notching 57 points, both career-highs. In addition, Kane also was a +11 compared to a -12 last season, accumulated 19 more hits, and shot the puck 53 more times than he did in 2010-11,when he played in 73 games for the Atlanta Thrashers. He appeared in 74 games as a 20-year-old Jet.
Looking at the the numbers, it’s obvious that Kane made large strides this year to develop into a premier player. Unlike some goal scorers who play the game from the perimeter, Kane was no stranger to the paint and scored a lot of his goals from below the hash marks. He wasn’t afraid to shoot either, as his 287 shots ranked him 9th in the NHL. The bottom line: Evander Kane has a nose for the net and he hasn’t even hit his prime yet.
All things considered, Evander Kane is Winnipeg’s most valuable asset. If this rumor is more than just posturing from the Kane camp, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has to do the best he can to get a package of high-level picks, prospects and/or a proven, top-six NHL forward. With this rumor leaking, the Jets are now in a worst-case scenario. Chevy’s hands will likely be tied and he may not be able to get back sufficient value in a trade or offer-sheet from another club.
All Jets fans can hope for at this point is that Lavoie got some bad information or that Evander Kane is looking for some leverage in negotiation. For Winnipeg, this will definitely be an interesting offseason to say the least.