Days and weeks have gone by and there isn’t much news regarding contract talks between the Winnipeg Jets and Evander Kane. It’s unclear why nothing has been decided yet, but speculation can only grow as this situation moves along at a snail’s pace.
In June there were rumors of Kane’s displeasure in Winnipeg and a possible request of a trade. Shortly after, that story was shot down by Kane’s agent and all was quiet until late July. It was then that reports surfaced of a formal offer was made by the Jets, but there still hasn’t been any word as to why there’s been no update since.
The Jets are prepared to make Evander Kane a rich man, but why hasn’t he signed? This question leads to no other assumption than the idea that the young winger may want to leave Winnipeg. It’s no secret that there are some players who love playing in Winnipeg, but there are many others who would take less money to play in a big market and/or somewhere warm. Could Kane be one of these players?
If in fact Kane does want to leave, Kevin Cheveldayoff and the Jets are in an extremely difficult position as the future of their franchise hangs in the balance. A player like Kane could net the Jets a king’s ransom, but if he doesn’t want to play in Winnipeg, the Jets lose some leverage in possible trade talks. Add that to the ongoing CBA negotiations, and teams won’t exactly pony up all of their best assets.
However, even if Kane requests a trade, the Jets have no obligation to deal him. He’s a restricted free agent under their control. Kane can sign with the Jets or sign an offer sheet. If he signs an offer sheet, Winnipeg will almost certainly match. If Kane was really desperate enough to leave Winnipeg, he’d have to play in Europe, but that would be highly doubtful. Both parties are stuck in an awkward situation. The Jets would have a disgruntled player who has no desire to be with his current franchise and Evander Kane would have very little leverage as far as his status is concerned.
At the end of the day, if Kane really doesn’t want to be here, the Jets would have to cut their losses and get everything they can in a trade. There’s no sense in having that type of distraction surround the team. That’s of course after they do their best to convince him to stay. If he won’t, a top-six forward, a good prospect and some high picks has to be in the works. A team that is as mediocre offensively as the Jets are can’t afford to lose a scorer who has yet to hit his prime for next to nothing.
For the Jets and their fans, it’s hard to imagine anything good for coming out of them having to trade Evander Kane. The waiting continues. Hopefully it’s not quiet for much longer.