August 29 2014 02:00AM
He's an enigma, a money-grubbing youngster, and a supreme young talented NHL forward. Yes, i'm talking about power forward Evander Kane.
Kane went through various ups and downs last year, with his off-ice immaturity leading to questions about his character and his on-ice performance being deemed not good enough to fight off character issues. Paul Maurice made Evander Kane a healthy scratch a time or two last season, and we'll see what kind of affect that has on the young player.
The fact of the matter is that Evander Kane is the most talented player on the team, and if he can develop into the stud many expect him to be, then the Jets best be hanging on to him. He enters camp with a clean slate, and will be ready to score 30 goals again if he shows some more maturity.
Evander Kane is good. Plain and simple. Just watch some of his highlights from last season and you'll see that he can drive the puck to the net with ease. Remember this guy is only 23 years old and has scored 30 goals in the NHL.
Kane was able the drive the play more consistently last year then in the year before and his Corsi numbers suggest that his team is better when he is on the ice. If Kane can keep driving his possession numbers up and continue to put the puck in the net, then he can stay very effective for this organization.
Since the young power forward is nearing his prime years, it's likely that we haven't seen the best he has to offer. Will he reach his career heights as a member of the Winnipeg Jets or another organization? That's yet to be determined.
Kane has yet to score 20 goals since reaching 30 in the 2011-12 season, but he was on a 30-goal pace in the lockout shortened season where he potted 17 in 48 games. It may not be this season that Kane finally reaches his career highs, especially considering the already-strained relationship he has with head coach Paul Maurice, but we don't know much of that story other than the fact that Kane spent time in the press box.
The Hockey News predicted that Kane would score 30 goals this upcoming season while adding 25 assists. I'm thinking Kane will be more like a 25-25 guy before breaking out the following season. This guy has all the tools and drive to score 40 goals in the NHL someday, although he may settle in as a consistent 30 goal guy and consistent 30 goal scorers are a dime a dozen.
Whether Kane lines up with Mark Scheifele or Mathieu Perreault as his centre, it's highly likely that he will produce at a greater rate then he did last season. To be honest, it was probably a year to forget for the young phenom.
My prediction is that Kane scores 27 goals and adds 26 assists for a 53-point season.
1. What was the problem last season?
There’s no question that Kane’s off-ice activities and character issues have contributed to the stunt in his producing growth, but it shouldn’t have made as big of a difference on the ice. Being a healthy scratch when you’re the most talented player on a team fighting for its playoff lives is a huge red flag. He’s still only 23 so maturity may be an issue, but he needs to figure out how to be a more respectable guy in the dressing room.
2. Can he score 30 goals this season?
In short, of course he can, but I predicted 27 to play it safe. When you watch him play sometimes he looks like a guy who can take over a game all on his own. Other times, he looks like a guy that’s more excited to hit the clubs following the game. If Kane can play like the first guy I described, then 30 is a definite and 40 is within reach.
3. Will he still be a Winnipeg Jet at season’s end?
The first article I wrote on JetsNation was looking at the possibility of Evander Kane being swapped for Ryan O’Reilly. Click here to refresh your memory. The fact that Kane has been in the rumour mill for the past couple of seasons doesn’t bode well for his future with the team. The only good thing going for Jets fans that love Kane is that Cheveldayoff doesn’t mind sitting on his hands. Kane could be the franchise’s savior, or he could bring back the franchise’s savior in a trade. Ball’s in your court Chevy.