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Evander Kane’s impact on the Edmonton Oilers has been immediate

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Photo credit:Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
9 months ago
We’ve now got a large enough sample size to see what Evander Kane has brought to the Edmonton Oilers this year.
And on the ice, it’s clear the controversial decision has paid dividends.
Kane has skated in nine games so far with the Oilers dating back to his debut on Jan. 29th. In those games, he’s scored four goals and eight points featuring three multi-point efforts.
With him on the ice at 5×5, the Oilers are controlling 50.96 percent of the shot attempts, 87.5 percent of the goal share, and 49.22 percent of the expected goal share. What’s been notable from his underlying numbers, too, has been his ‘luck’ numbers.
Kane’s on-ice shooting percentage has been high at 10.14 percent, while his on-ice save percentage is an astronomically high .985. His oisv% should drop soon, but playing alongside Leon Draisaitl should keep his shooting percentage around where it is.
It’s alongside Draisaitl where he’s helped form a very effective second line. They’ve been contributing on the scoreboard, that is clear, but there are other things that have caught the eye of head coach Jay Woodcroft, too.
“I’ve known Evander personally for a week here, so my frame of reference as a player is that he’s getting better every day,” said Woodcroft after the Oilers’ win over the Anaheim Ducks Thursday. “We have to understand he didn’t have a normal training camp, he had a couple games in the American Hockey League but he’s just kind of getting up to speed right now.
“I think he feels comfortable right now. Those two big bodies on that line with him and Leon, I think they’re tough to handle in the hard areas.”
That physical presence has been a welcome addition for the Oilers. Oftentimes, Kane has dragged the Oilers into the fight and he hasn’t been afraid to mix it up physically as he did with Brendan Lemieux and the LA Kings earlier this week.
He took a penalty on the play which you don’t like to see, but the Oilers got a big kill to save face on the call. Nonetheless, this edge has been something the Oilers have missed.
There’s lots of season here left for the Oilers and Kane, but he’s so far paying off every penny the team is paying for and then some. His contract remains very team-friendly at a $2.1-million cap hit and honestly, it wouldn’t have taken very much for it to be worthwhile.
It’s going to be interesting to continue to see how he’s deployed on a regular basis as the Oilers haven’t shied from using him on the powerplay where Thursday night he scored on the second unit. With Jesse Puljujarvi now out for around a month, it’s safe to assume Kane will find himself a regular on that top unit.
Here’s what Kane said Thursday night about how he’s seen the powerplay:
“I kind of flip-flop between the first and second. Me, Jesse and Hyms kind of rotate a little bit there, then the other guy goes out for the second,” said Kane. “We had some success tonight early and they decided to put us out there.
“Having depth, having options, having different looks is awesome. Connor and Leon are going to get their time, and deservingly so.”

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@oilersnation.com.

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