Evander Kane’s three-year stint with the Winnipeg Jets has been one marked with a lot of issues. He had a career-best season in his first year with the Jets, but has since leveled off. The problem, though, appears to be his relationship with the media.
If there’s anyone on Winnipeg’s roster who’s faced nonstop scrutiny from the local press, it’s Kane. It seems as though he can’t sneeze without someone calling him out for it. As such, Kane’s been a bit of a polarizing player for the Jets. After being healthy scratched a few times this season, people are starting to wonder if this relationship is on its last legs, as well as if Kane even wants to be in Winnipeg anymore.
A recent radio interview did no help in putting out those flames. On Team 1040 Radio, Kane was asked multiple times if he wanted to be a Jet, and all he could really say was, “Well, I think I’m a Winnipeg Jet right now and there’s been speculation and rumors for the three years since I got there. So we’ll see what happens and we’ll carry on as I’m a Winnipeg Jet.” When pressed on the subject, he continued to dance around it.
GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said at the recent NHL Draft that he was open to listening to offers for players on his current roster, so this plus Kane’s comments yesterday should definitely perk the ears of any interested parties. The bottom line, it would appear, is Kane just doesn’t want to be in Winnipeg, and don’t be surprised if he’s wearing another team’s jersey next season.
Kane has essentially been preparing to be dealt at least once a season during his time with the Jets, and it certainly can’t make him feel like he’s wanted there. It would explain why he always seems to be hedging his bets whenever asked about his opinion on the team.
As for the aforementioned media issues, he gets a ton of negative attention, but some is his own fault. He’s run into issues like unpaid traffic tickets and assault lawsuits, and these things only magnify any sort of hiccup he may cause. Press and fans alike have called Kane out for lack of motivation and interest at an almost routine rate. At one point, he was criticized for not showing up to camp a good three days before it even started. If Kane’s relationship with the Jets front office is considered “heated,” his relationship with the media could probably be listed as “nuclear.”
In terms of actually dealing him, there are a few things to consider. First of all, his contract isn’t as appealing as Winnipeg would like. He still has four years left on his current deal, coming with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million. Any interested teams would need to either have enough space to take that in, or shed contracts on their own end. At 22 years of age, though, Kane could very well be worth the investment.
On the Jets’ end, they would need sizable return. The team is already staring at a roster few would call imposing, so getting rid of any more talent can’t happen without getting some back. If they didn’t do so, expect the backlash from Winnipeg fans to be insane.
Following the recent events, it’s just hard to see Kane back in Winnipeg next season. He’s a player worth going after in the trade market, and I hardly see his relationship with the team and city taking a huge turn towards improvement anytime soon.