Poor Evander Kane. And Jets fans as a whole. While Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little form a consideble trio with fairly reliable and successful chemistry, Evander Kane has been saddled with a "who’s who" of players you don’t want lining up with your budding young star.
For the Tampa Bay visit on Sunday, he was initially lined up with Olli Jokinen and Antii Mietienen – not what you’d call ideal linemantes. He’s been with more players than a lot of puck bunnies this season; Jamie Wright, Alex Burmistorv, Nik Antropov, Anthony Peluso, and a littany of other "why him?" type players have flanked his side all season long.
I have a theory about Hockey. If you want to win, you should have as many good players as possible. It helps signifigantly. As such, I believe that as the Trade Deadline approaches, the Jets should take a look at finding someone to play alongside Mr. Kane, and thus create a viably threatening 2nd line. Were that to happen, this Jet team could easily go from "well, they won the Southeast, that’s why they’re in the Playoffs", to "good lord, they’re kicking some serious ass".
To build properly around him, they’d need a Right Wing, and potentially even a new Center. But there are limits to what could be had. For one, the Jets simply won’t part with too much of their young future. I find it incredibly unlikely that Mark Scheifele or Jacob Trouba would be involved in any trade. Now, if for some reason Tampa Bay offered Stamkos for the 2 of them, take it, but that won’t happen, so let’s rule it out. The Jets will keep as much young talent as possible.
Sadly, some players won’t want to come to Winnipeg. Jarome Iginla would actually be an ideal fit in Winnipeg. You could put any Center in between Iggy and Kane – Jokinen, Wellwood, Antropov or Burmistrov – and it would be a great fit. But Iginla and some other notable players with no-movement clauses may not wish to win a Stanley Cup in Winnipeg for reasons beyond logic.
So who’s on the table for the Jets? I think it’s safe to say Burmistrov is available. Paul Postma may be up for grabs. They have some extra 2nd round picks thanks to the Johnny Oduya deal last year. And I’d have to believe that if there’s a great offer on the table, this years 1st round pick could be moved, because, if you really believe in this Team, that’s a 20’ish overall pick at best. Most likely 30th though.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some players who could fit the bill as realistic linemate of Evander Kane as we near the Deadline:
Yeah, not the most exciting name, but completely realisitic, and a possible good fit. The Flames RW is having a solid year, with 23 points in 30 games. He’s signed for 1 additonal year after this at a 2.5M cap hit. A slick skating, streaky scorer with good hands, Stempniak would be a clear upgrade from the bag of pucks Kane has been paired with to date.
Cost? – The Flames need a 2nd round pick, which the Jets have. That should be enough.
I’m serious, too. By the time the Deadline comes, the Hurricanes could realistically be 8 or more points out of 1st in the SE division. In fact, thanks to Injuries, they could plummet completely out of the playoff picture, and thus be willing to sell on some of their UFA’s. And Semin has been good, with 30 points in 30 games. He and Kane would be explosive together.
Cost? – Probably starting at this years 1st round pick, and adding someone like a Postma or an Adam Lowry. Maybe you could do Burmistrov and a 2nd, but I doubt it.
I’m as serious as that mullet. Why not? A pending UFA, he’s been solid again this year, with 24 points in 30 games, leading the Stars in scoring. Now, Dallas is currently in a playoff race and will be a division rival next year, all of which may make a deal a little harder to make, but Jagr would bring the best out of Evander, no doubt.
Cost? – Burmistrov and a 2nd.
A little long in the tooth (do old people really have long teeth?) and armed with a no-movement clause, he may very well not want to head Winnipeg way. But he just may. C’mon, Milan, would you rather finish last in Denver, or go on a run in The ‘Peg? The choice seems obvious to the enlightened. Hejduk has been only ok this year, with 10 points in 24 games, but his veteran savvy and Cup winning experience would be an asset to any team.
Cost? – Draft picks, probably and 2nd and a 4th or 5th. Avs have Cap issues on the horizom, they won’t wany any bodies back.
We’ll find out soon what deals what the Jets and the rest of the League make. In the meantime, leave a comment and let us know who you’d like to see the Jets go for as the Deadline nears.
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