In a week that’s mostly been filled with bad news for the Winnipeg Jets, here’s a ray of sunshine: as it turns out, despite all of the Evander Kane drama, a whole host of NHL teams would reportedly be very interested in acquiring the 23-year-old power forward in a trade.
Though a lot of that interest will be dependent on Kane’s current injury status – and the Jets placed him on Injured Reserve on Thursday following a meeting with doctors – it does make it more likely that maybe Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff can net a decent return for the controversial forward.
TSN’s Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie addressed Kane’s situation, and the level of interest in the young forward on the trade market, at length on Thursday during their regular Insider Trading segment.
“Every team in the NHL that has an interest in Evander Kane wants to know what the health status is,” reported McKenzie.
“Is he going to have to undergo surgery in the short-term – is he going to be able to finish the season?” McKenzie continued. “You can’t give up big assets at the deadline for a player, then have him out with season ending surgery.
“It’s different in the summer, lots of teams will take that, but they need to get a clear indication of what that’ll be before they make a move.”
Kane is dealing with a lower-body ailment of some type, but we don’t have many details. We know he missed some games with a sprained knee earlier in the year, but the rest of the information we have is unconfirmed. For what it’s worth Winnipeg Sun sports editor Ted Wyman says it’s a foot injury, while Winnipeg Free Press reporter Gary Lawless says that it will require surgery following the season – though Kane may be able to play through it in the interim.
Regardless of what is ailing Kane though, there does appear to be significant interest in acquiring the forwards services. From TSN’s Darren Dreger:
Most of the top contenders definitely will show interest. We’re talking about the Pittsburgh Penguins, we’re talking about the Boston Bruins. You look at the Western Conference you’ve got the likes of the Anaheim Ducks – (they) most definitely will inquire if they haven’t already on Evander Kane.
You’ve got the Vancouver Canucks, who would love to bring the hometown kid back to Vancouver. They’ve been looking for additional scoring and want a top-six forward.
The Montreal Canadiens? Again, interest in Evander Kane…
When you’re talking about 3-years remaining and a cap-hit that’s very affordable at 5.25 million, there will be a tonne of interest.
If there are really at least five teams, several with deep prospect pools, bidding on Kane’s services, then that exponentially increases the likelihood of Cheveldayoff netting decent value for his depreciating asset.
Dreger also suggested that the Jets would need two major pieces in order to move Kane – a piece that helps now, in addition to a quality future. Looking at the Jets roster, it’s clear that what they really need is forward depth. It’s an area where the club’s need is likely to become even greater were they to deal Kane before the March 2nd NHL trade deadline.
Presumably a club willing to give up a couple of NHL forward would be the best fit. Something like a good young player with star potential who is several years from unrestricted free agency, in addition to a decent second liner or an above average third-liner on a reasonable contract, would seem to fit the bill. At the very least that’s what Winnipeg should be looking for.
It’s a big ask, but Kane is a rare asset. If there are several suitors in the mix, maybe the Jets can make lemonade out of the rocks they’ve picked this week.