Evander Kane……is Soft


Disclaimer: This article is in no way, shape, or form written because I have a personal vendetta against Evander Kane and the pitiful effort he is putting in as far as my Fantasy Hockey Team goes this season.  There I said it.

Evander Kane.

Words to describe him: quick, fast, speedy, big, somewhat dynamic, very problematic, and always egomatic.

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Oh, and add the adjective soft to that list too.

After being injured in Friday’s game in Philadelphia – a game that the Jets needed him to keep playing for two points – Evander Kane has shown Jets fans just what he is made of.

His core, his centre, his mantra has been clearly released for public viewing.

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Not that his slow start – 14 points in 26 games  – has anything to do with it, but even when Kane was scoring 30 goals in 2011-12, there were still those elementary flaws in his game that many "power forwards" work out of in their first season or two.

Adjustments have not been made for Kane and instead of improving his game as a 6’2, 195 pound power forward the Jets need to produce, he has found himself as a speedy winger who shoots from any angle he can get.

There is a reason why the MTS Centre faithful don’t get loud or start to cheer when Evander Kane gets the puck and streaks down the left side anymore – they know it’s going to be a shot from the top of the circle or from the half boards, or even better no shot at all and a little skate behind the net into no man’s land.

Evander Kane has the third most shots in the NHL (108), three behind Minnesota’s Zach Parise (111) and 23 behind Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (131).

What’s the difference between these three? 

Ovechkin has 20 goals and Parise has 11.

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Kane only has seven.

You have to look down to Vancouver’s Chris Higgins at 12th to find another forward who shoots as much and has less than 10 goals (Higgins has 94 shots and seven goals).

In the top 15, Kane’s 6.5% shooting percentage is second best to teammate Dustin Byfuglien’s 6.3%.

But for Byfuglien, his shooting percentage isn’t expected to be high – he’s a defenseman for crying out loud, not our go to power forward.

It’s a history of this too.

Kane finished second in shots last season with 190, 30 less than Ovechkin.  Kane had 17 goals, Ovechkin 32.

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In 2011-12, Kane finished ninth in shots with 287, scored 30 goals and had a shooting percentage of 10.5%.  Only Rick Nash had a worse shooting percentage in the top 10 (9.8%).

So what, you’re saying, Kane doesn’t have a high shooting percentage.

So what?

So we never get goals from him if he’s consistently shooting from outside the slot or the hash marks.

What kind of power forward has one move to the outside and shoots?

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Add to the fact that Kane went down with an injury on Friday on a play that I think was not as bad as it seems and you have a soft player who has fallen in and out of grace with many fans.

The solution?

Trade him?

Use him?

Bench him?

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Not my job to decide.

But he is soft.

  • Kevin McCartney

    Strong words, Matt.

    I think you’re right that he has a very limited arsenal of moves. I’m pretty tired of him just taking whatever is given and shooting from where ever the defender closes his gap. But I think some of that falls on his coaches.

    People might remember James Neal struggling when he first went to Pittsburgh. Dan Bylsma watched tape on every one of his NHL goals, figured out where he scores best from, and designed the offence of that one line to optimize Neal’s scoring.

    Claude Noel is still talking about bringing A grade effort. Meanwhile, he’s managed their offensive transition to be less error prone, but it also takes away Kane’s main offensive weapon – his speed.

    I think he’s the kind of player that IF he got traded, he’d score 35 goals for a better coach.

    • A new coach could motivate him. When a player is yawning on the bench and cares less about how the team does and how he plays then he isn’t Stanley Cup championship material. Sure another coach can get him to be a 35 goal scorer, but is that a 35 goal scorer who has potential to be a force for a Stanley Cup or one who mediocrely scores 35 in a season and then disappears come playoff time. It’s more his attitude and his approach to the game that has him soft as well not just his effort and production on the ice.

  • Travis Hrubeniuk

    I agree with his shot selection. I think he could take the odd opportunity and try to get into the crease more often.

    I don’t agree with the sentiment that he should have kept playing against Philly. The last time Evander tried to play through an injury and get into the lineup he was publicly criticized and made a fool of. A few weeks ago against Dallas he played through both injuries and the flu. The guy cares. If he could have played, he would have.

  • Travis Hrubeniuk

    Kane has seemed to have gone through a complete metamorphosis from last year to this. At once a fierce competitor who would be more than willing to hit anything that moved, to a guy who just doesn’t seem to want to be where he is. I wouldn’t necessarily label it as being soft (see Blake wheeler) but rather uninspired. At his current trajectory, he’d be doing well to net twenty goals this year, which is a far cry from those claiming he’d be in line for 35 to 40 this year. Is it the coach? In a word, absolutely.

    Coach Noel is all about old school hockey. Nothing wrong with that, right? Relying on tried and true methods that have withstood the test of time, right? Recycling old ideas, tweaking them a little bit, and then presenting it as innovation. Except its a bit of a stretch to think the coaching is innovative. It’s not. It’s retro, its predictable, and the other coaches in this league are figuring out what the Jet’s are doing before they even know what they’re going, and having an easy time of it. And the players are getting frustrated because of it.

    We all know what flows down hill. And when I hear the players speak of winning two game in a row as some sort of milestone, rather than speaking of it being a mere stepping stone, you lose hope that this club will ever be anything better than a .500 hockey club. Not until those at the top start bringing something to the table that the players can work with. Because what they have now reads more like a cheap novel than an epic masterpiece.

  • Travis Hrubeniuk

    Mr. OCanada. Kane was plenty-fierce at the start of this season, that was readily apparent to anyone who watched the games before his first injury (or examined his possession stats). Between a parade of stupid penalties and an abysmally low shooting percentage I would suggest that if one wants to play arm-chair psychologist Kane is as likely frustrated with himself as much as frustrated with a coach or any of his teammates.

    One is free to pick a single narrative and apply it to every situation. Given the license to project ones opinions on to the subject of speculation in the absence of facts it is trivial to make any issue about the topic you really want to talk about.

    • Travis Hrubeniuk

      Dear #5 X,

      Let’s excuse the formalities, you can call me Scott (that is my real name). In the absence of fact, one only has speculation and supposition with which to formulate an opinion. Indeed Mr. Kane’s frustrations may well be internal rather than external. However, in today’s professional sports dynamic, a coach has to be not only a coach, but a part time psychologist as well. And as the above article has articulated correctly, Dan Bylsma’s handling the frustrations of James Neal acts as an antithesis to coach Noel’s handling of younger, frustrated talent (see Alexander Burmistrov).

      I’m an Economics major, not a Psychology major. Hence I don’t purport to have some unique insight into the psyche of anybody or anything (except my dog, he’s a little messed up). If you’re a frequent traveller to this site, you’d know I’m not a fan of Mr. Noel’s, but nor do I try to hide that fact. I believe he was the wrong choice to begin with. But once again, that’s just my opinion. And the wonderful thing about opinions, they’re never right and they’re never wrong.

  • Kevin McCartney

    Well, let’s calm down, Scott, before we say things we can’t take back. Opinions can’t be *never* right or wrong. Right? I mean, what about MY opinions? Am I right, guys? Please tell me I’m right…

    My world is unraveling.

  • David Yu

    Kane is a lot of things but soft isn’t one of them, he plays a physical game and injuries are a part of that.

    I completely agree with your assessment of his shooting. He Corsis a lot but the shot quality is really quite low. His low shooting percentage is not a matter of being unlucky but being a puck hog.

    Last month there were brief rumours of a Pacioretty-Kane deal. Habs bloggers did some advanced stat comparisons in their analysis of the deal. They basically looked at WOWY stats and showed that while Kane single-handedly generates a lot of shot attempts, he doesn’t pull his teammates up nearly to the same extent as Pacioretty.