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Frank Seravalli discusses why Evander Kane was healthy scratched and his future with the Edmonton Oilers

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Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
20 days ago
It is safe to say that the relationship between Evander Kane and the Edmonton Oilers has hit a rough patch.
He is in the midst of one of the worst stretches of his career with only 15 points (seven goals and eight assists) since the calendar flipped over to 2024 and is stuck in a 17-game goalless slump. He has voiced his displeasure about a lack of ice time on numerous occasions this year and under two different coaches, was seen arguing with Leon Draisaitl on the bench during a game against the Leafs, and was recently a healthy scratch against the Senators.
That last point has proved to be a contentious moment because while the Oilers deemed it to be a “maintenance day,” Kane was tight-lipped when asked about it during a media scrum. It opened the door to many questions as to what that could mean about the state of things, in which Elliotte Friedman suggested that it could be the organization trying to send a message to the Canadian winger to get back on track.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli appeared on Oilersnation Everyday on Wednesday to provide some insight into why the Oilers opted to sit Kane out last weekend and what lies ahead for both parties beyond this season.
When asked why the Oilers opted to refer to Kane not playing on Sunday as a maintenance day instead of a healthy scratch, Seravalli said the following:
If you watch his face during the interview, like you cannot, there is no ability that Evander Kane has to help himself. He continues to be his own worst enemy. And I don’t know that there’s ever fixing that to be honest. But there was an easier way to do this, there was an easier way to engage in the conversation. And he can’t just, you know, let the situation play itself out. He more or less had to tell everyone that it wasn’t his choice and that he wasn’t hurt. And instead of it just being a maintenance day, it became more than that.
To put it more simply, Seravalli seems to suggest that there is a disconnect between the player and the organization about the state of things.
Kane is a proud person and this is evident by the fact that he made his frustrations of being in the press box for a game public. At the same time, he has a point to make because he has proven to be a difference-maker for the Oilers given he finished third on the team in scoring during the 2022 playoffs and had a dominant showing in their first-round series win over the Kings last year. And when he is not producing like was the case when he only mustered up one point against the Golden Knights in the second round, that lack of production did play a factor in why Edmonton was sent packing by the eventual Cup winners.
The team considers him to be critical to their success which is why they took a chance on him during a tumultuous period in his career and why they opted to give him a four-year extension. Having the sixth-highest AAV on the team at $5.125-million means he is paid to be a difference-maker and that means Edmonton will always want the most out of Kane.
Yet despite the high price tag he has and the level of production he has brought over the past few years, Seravalli suggests that Kane’s act is starting to wear thin on the Oilers.
It’s a tale as old as time. He starts off really well in any new place that he goes to. And it’s like a coach, the clock begins to tick. And at some point, the Oilers will probably have to adress it before his contract is up. It may or may not be as soon as this summer, but he wears out his welcome. It’s fact it’s not opinion. And I had the sense that his act was already beginning to wear with these Oilers players, well before you get some video that pops up with Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane jawing at each other.
He did go on to say that nothing is imminent in terms of Edmonton trying to move off his contract, but that is quite the bombshell to drop. Kane indeed has been at odds with his teammates over the years during his previous stops with the Jets, Sabres, and Sharks, but it is quite telling that reports of the relationship between him and the Oilers going sour have emerged barely halfway into his current contract.
The Oilers players and staff knew what they were getting themselves into when he originally joined the organization because although he is not the most universally loved player off the ice, he brings a lot of good to the table on the ice. Yet that offensive production he is capable of is not enough to keep the peace since there are already reports that suggest the relationship is getting strained.
All of which is to say that this story is one to keep an eye on down the stretch and throughout the offseason. It is certainly possible that Kane can dispel the rumours by once again having a positive impact on the Oilers in the playoffs just as he did in 2022. But if he continues to struggle and Edmonton is unable to go on a deep run, then perhaps Kane’s days donning the Blue and Orange will be numbered.
The cap hit is certainly not impossible to move but there is no telling if another team will be willing to take Kane off the Oilers’ hands if it gets to that point this summer. Whether or not a move occurs is anyone’s guess right now, so don’t be surprised if more stories regarding Kane and the Oilers emerge in the coming weeks because this saga is far from over.
You can listen to the full interaction between Seravalli and Oilersnation Everyday down below:

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