Evander Kane is the first Canadian to sign with a KHL team, agreeing to a deal with Dynamo Minsk. The locked out Winnipeg Jets forward will be playing home games in Belarus while NHL games are being cancelled.
Kane, who potted 30 goals with the Jets last season, will join former teammate Tim Stapleton on Dynamo Minsk, who signed with them during the summer. (It looks like a really smart move for Stapleton now that all the more talented NHLers are starting to come over.) Star Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is also playing with the Belarusian club during the lockout.
Interestingly, at least in terms of the uniform he will wear, Evander Kane likely won’t look too out of place. Dynamo Minsk uses a two-tone blue color scheme similar to the Jets, with navy being the primary color on the dark jerseys.
Some Jets fans have been quick to point out that it took only a fraction of the time for Kane to get a deal done with the KHL compared to how his negotiations with Winnipeg dragged out. It’s an entirely different situation as Kane essentially became a free-agent to other leagues and their teams once the NHL chained up its gates. With the amount of scrutiny that Kane has been under during his time in the Peg, can you blame him for wanting to get his work in elsewhere until the new collective bargaining agreement is reached?
Getting back to the team that picked him up, Dynamo Minsk is nine games into their season with three wins, three shootout wins and three loses. They’re one of the KHL’s younger franchises that has been a playoff bubble team the last few seasons. If the NHL lockout lasts for an extended period of time, it will certainly be entertaining to see how far Kane and Rinne can carry them.
With Kane making his way to the KHL, he becomes the second Winnipeg Jet to do so. Nik Antropov signed with Barys Astana last week. Dynamo Minsk beat Barys Astana 5-1 on September 6, before either team had their respective Jets. The next slated meeting is October 26.
Let’s hope that Kane and Antropov will be wearing the same jersey by then.