It’s been about two weeks since the Winnipeg Jets offered Evander Kane a six-year, $29 million contract and still all is quiet. There hasn’t been a peep out of either camp as obviously Kane hasn’t agreed to the deal and there is also no word of him rejecting the offer either. What could the holdup be? Why isn’t he giving the Jets a yes or a no? If he doesn’t like the deal, they can continue to negotiate.
Another young star within Winnipeg’s division, Jeff Skinner just signed a fat extension worth six years and $34.35 million to stay with the Carolina Hurricanes long term. If it’s more money he wants, wouldn’t he just come out and say it? If money is the issue, the Jets are no doubt ready to up the ante. They have to. Kane is the only true scorer the Jets have and is the player the team plans to build around.
This situation is becoming kind of similar to how Shea Weber’s negotiations or lack of were going with the Nashville Predators. No progress seemed to be made between the Preds and Weber on a new deal and things dragged out until the Philadelphia Flyers signed Weber to an offer sheet which Nashville matched. Based on how things went, it seemed like Weber didn’t want to remain a Predator. It was doubtful that a small market team like the Predators would match such a large, front-loaded contract, but they did.
However, unlike Shea Weber, Evander Kane isn’t widely considered to be the best player in the NHL at his position. Defensemen are at a premium in this day and age, as scoring forwards are slightly easier to find. To boot, although he has endless amounts of untapped potential, Kane doesn’t have the type of resume Weber could boast and wouldn’t draw stupid money if he did receive an offer sheet.
The Jets have already said they’d match any offer. It would have to take a crazy amount of early money in the deal for Winnipeg not to do it. As coveted as a player like Kane could be, I don’t see a team throwing endless amounts of money at him. Could he get $7 million per year? Probably, but even then I still think the Jets would match it.
The only reason I think Evander Kane may be slowing the process is to show Jets management that he doesn’t want to be in Winnipeg. We’ve all seen and heard those rumors by now. There are conflicting reports on what Kane wants out of his NHL future, but as this process takes longer and longer, you have to wonder if maybe he doesn’t want to stay a Jet. Kane could be trying to force Kevin Cheveldayoff and Co.’s hands and facilitate a trade. The situation is murky and with both sides being quiet for so long, this ordeal isn’t looking positive.
One thing Jets fans can take solace in is the fact that every major move of the summer has at least taken some amount of time to happen. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter didn’t choose the Minnesota Wild until July 4th, Shea Weber signed his offer sheet in late July and the Predators took their time to make a decision and Rick Nash wasn’t traded until the end of July after months of speculation as to where he’d end up. By now we’ve learned that it takes a painful amount of time until something important happens in the NHL.
Hopefully the Jets and their fans won’t have to play the waiting game much longer.