The Winnipeg Jets actually exceeded the expectations of many this season, hanging in the postseason race in the Eastern Conference until the very end of the year. They obviously didn’t crack the top eight in the East, but there are still some positives to take away and a bright future ahead.
Part of that future is Evander Kane. The Jets officially made Kane a core piece of the franchise last summer, signing him to a lucrative contract extension that carries a $5.25 million cap hit over six years. That deal ended speculation that the Jets could look to trade him.
That certainly seems like a wise move on the part of the organization, as the past couple of seasons have seen plenty of potential from Kane as a future superstar in this league. He didn’t take the next step forward in the lockout-shortened season of 2013, but still had a solid year nonetheless.
It’s possible that Kane could have reached a new career high in points had this been a full season. He finished with 33 points on the year, including 17 goals. That comes a year after he posted career highs in goals (30) and assists (27), along with a plus-11 rating.
Kane averaged more ice time than any other Jets forward in 2013, even Andrew Ladd. He played a touch over 20 minutes per game, averaging 2:25 on the power play in there, as well as some time on the penalty kill. He finished with four points on the man advantage, including a pair of goals.
While many were expecting a true breakout season from Kane, that didn’t really come on the stat sheet. The expectations was probably about 40-45 points in a shortened season, taking that next step towards becoming a point-per-game player.
Perhaps that will come next season. Regardless of when it does come, Evander Kane has shown that he has the skill set to be an absolute nightmare for opposing forwards and defensemen to deal with. Not only is he supremely talented offensively, he’s a physical force.
In 48 games this season, Kane finished the year with 147 hits. That total was 14th in the entire league. He had six games where he finished with at least five hits. That makes him an even more dangerous player to try and contain. Just wait until he has an actually skilled line to play with.
The Jets are going to work on their roster this summer, meaning this team should be better. They’ll add some depth up front and perhaps another top six forward. If Kane gets an upper tier forward to play next to, he’s going to break out and become that superstar next season.