NHL insider speculates Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl went to Corey Perry for ‘help with’ Evander Kane

Edmonton OIlers Evander Kane
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Mazzei
25 days ago
The Evander Kane saga has remained a point of interest for Oilers fans this year.
We have already seen the player voice his frustration numerous times this season over his deployment, got caught on camera arguing on the bench with Leon Draisaitl, and was a healthy scratch during a recent game in Ottawa that put into question his long-term future in the organization.
Granted, some of that occurred during one of the toughest stretches of his career from an offensive standpoint and he was since able to find the back of the net twice against the Avalance to snap a 21-game drought. It should have calmed down the noise for a little while but it ended up only being for a few days because, during a Saturday night game against the Flames, Kane was seen getting in a heated conversation with Corey Perry on the bench.
This argument with Perry and the one with Draisaitl could very well be isolated incidents, but the fact a situation like that has now happened twice within a span of a few weeks makes the latest development all the more noteworthy. It makes you wonder if something is bubbling underneath the surface or if there are ulterior motives at play in regard to Kane.
Elliotte Friedman threw his hat in the ring about the entire saga during the latest episode of The 32 Thoughts podcast which he suggested that all of these screaming fights on the bench are part of a masterplan by the star Oiler players in an attempt to get Kane on a roll going into the postseason.
My theory is that the Oilers know if they’re going to be successful in the playoffs, they need Evander Kane. And they don’t just need him to be moderately engaged. They need big pain in the ass Evander Kane. They need top four checker in the league Evander Kane. And I think they’ve just decided that they are going to ride him until he gets there. It’s going to be tough love and it’s not going to be the coach who’s going to do it, it’s going to be the players who are going to do it. And they are saying, “If we want to win the Stanley Cup this year, we need a great Evander Kane and we are taking the responsibility of making sure he gets there.” Because one thing about [Kevin Bieksa] he said is that Perry doesn’t do that a lot. So my theory, and I got a lot of theories, but my theory is McDavid and Draisaitl have gone to Perry and said, “We need your help with this because you, in addition to us, you also have the gravitas as a veteran player to go to him.”
The idea that Connor McDavid and Draisaitl have decided that the best course of action to get Kane in the right frame of mind is a bit of tough love does seem to make some sense since these two incidents have occurred in the latter stages of the season. At the same time, it is quite surprising that the Oilers are resorting to this method.
There is no doubt that Kane is a critical component of Edmonton’s success when he is on his game as evidenced by his dominant showing in the 2022 playoffs and the first round last year against the Kings. But when he is not on his game and struggling to play with the intensity and forecheck required to make their offence even deadlier, it puts more pressure on the top guns to produce. It thus makes it easier for the opposition to neutralize them and thus make the Oilers less imposing to have to defend. Therefore it is fair to assume that Kane is going to be a big X-factor for the team in these playoffs cause how he does will determine how far they go.
Friedman also brought up a point that Bieksa brought up during Hockey Night in Canada regarding Perry not typically being the type of person to argue on the bench with a teammate. He would know better than most given the former NHLer spent three seasons of his career with the Ducks. It does not definitively prove that what Friedman is suggesting is going on to be correct, but it certainly helps add fuel to the fire that perhaps there is something there.
Getting Kane going is certainly an area of importance for the Oilers and it would make sense if they are doing it in the way Friedman speculated. Simultaneously, we won’t truly know what goes on behind the scenes because what the camera shows and the pressers are only part of the story. So unless the players go out and say it themselves or continue to scream at Kane, then this theory is exactly that.
Either way, it is an intriguing idea and one that certainly carries a lot of weight given it comes from the league’s most trusted insider. There is no telling what comes next for the Kane saga but this added another wrinkle to it.


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