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Edmonton Oilers ‘might have considered doing something’ with Evander Kane in the trade market

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Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
When you’re a team going all in to win the Stanley Cup, sometimes tough decisions need to be made.
We’ve seen teams become more and more cutthroat around the league in recent years, looking at franchises like the Vegas Golden Knights or the Florida Panthers, who have never been shy to make significant moves in attempts to better their teams. It’s often come with having to move out very good players.
Think about moving Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs and draft picks for Jack Eichel. Or trading away Paul Stastny and Nate Schmidt to free up the cap space to sign Alex Pietrangelo. Or trading away Nick Suzuki and Tomas Tatar for Max Pacioretty.
Think about the Panthers moving Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar for Matthew Tkachuk. Or trading away Owen Tippett and draft picks for Claude Giroux. Or trading Devon Levi and a first-round pick for Sam Reinhart.
You get the point.
That’s where the Edmonton Oilers come into the mix, feverish in their desire to win a Stanley Cup as soon as possible. The Oilers have done some of these kinds of moves, namely with moving Tyson Barrie and other assets for Mattias Ekholm, but the club has at least thrown around the idea of another signifcant move: trading away Evander Kane.
The idea was suggested on Monday’s episode of Spittin’ Chiclets, where ex-Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney, one of the show’s hosts, suggested some issues could be bubbling with him and the team.
Their headlining guest, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman responded by saying the Oilers “might have” considered something involving Kane:
Whitney: There’s something going on with Kane there. He doesn’t like his ice time, and if there’s any sort of time to get out somebody who is possibly bringing down moods — I don’t know if you can move that deal —but that’s something I wouldn’t be shocked at. I’m just sayin’ it.
Friedman: You know, I have to say that I don’t necessarily disagree with you that anything is on the table for them. Here’s my thing about Kane: he’s been very quiet lately. In the playoffs you need guys like (him). Now, you need him going. In the game they lost in Calgary, him and Kadri — they have a thing. I don’t know what this is. He was engaged. Kane is one of the best forecheckers in the league, and the playoffs is all about forechecking.
I understand that maybe, at times, they might have considered doing something there. Again, he’s got to be playing great, they need him to be playing great, but tell me how they’re a better team without Kane against Vegas, or LA, or Vancouver. Just show me the deal that makes them better.
Whitney: They aren’t, but if he’s playing third line and he’s pouting, that is negatively affecting the team. When that guy is on… he’s playing angry, and engaged, he’s an incredible player. But all of a sudden him and Leon (Draisaitl) are going at it on the bench, so I don’t know. Like I’m saying with you, anything is on the table with them, because it’s win now mode.
Kane, 32, has been a solid player for the Oilers since joining them partway through the 2021-22 season, scoring 59 goals and 103 points in 142 regular season games. He was lights out in his first postseason in Edmonton, scoring a staggering 13 goals in 15 games, to go along with 17 points. His goal total led all post-season players.
But last season, one in which Kane dealt with a horrific wrist injury when he was accidently cut by a skate, as well as a rib injury that hampered him in the new year. It saw his offence dip in the regular season, and nearly fall right off in the playoffs where he scored just three goals and five points in 12 games.
And while Kane is still on pace for 30 goals this season, and his goal per game rate is right at his career average, his offensive numbers have dipped in each of his three years in Edmonton, and have done so this year, too.
Being a bruising, physical, 6’2 power forward, we also know that these players can see falloffs in their game sooner than others. Edmonton fans know that all too well when it comes to what happened with Milan Lucic years ago.
There are other significant off-ice implications of Kane being in Edmonton, too. With two years left after this on a deal paying him $5.125-million, the Oilers will have to re-sign both Leon Draisaitl and defenceman Evan Bouchard next offseason, and the pair will account for significant raises. When a larger look at the Oilers’ cap situation is taken into account, Kane is the odd-man out salary wise.
Kane’s contract is structured in such a way that the Oilers could move him this summer or next. His deal has a full no-movement clause that runs through February 2025, a year and a half before his contract expires, that changes to a 16-team trade list. Looking at his salary and bonus structure, Kane will receive a $2-million signing bonus on July 1st, 2024, which will be the last he receives in his final two years, while his total salary amounts dwindle down over the final years of the deal.
All in all, Whitney and Friedman hit the nail on the head when it comes to the analysis of what Kane can bring to the table. Kane is an important player for the Oilers when he’s on, but even with his injuries notwithstanding, his game has taken a hit in the last number of years, and his consistency has been lacking.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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