Kane’s Fit On Oilers, Flyers Struggling and Devils Defence & More

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In this edition of NHL Talk, Evander Kane could join the Edmonton Oilers, the Philadelphia Flyers are underperforming, the New York Rangers’ impressive season is analyzed, and the New Jersey Devils look to its defensive depth players to step up with Dougie Hamilton and Damon Severson sidelined.

Kane Could Make NHL Return in the Oilers’ Top-Six Forward Group

The landing destination for Kane, an unrestricted free agent, has been the subject of much speculation in the past few days. After having his contract with the San Jose Sharks ended, the 30-year-old forward is now looking for a new spot to play. Breaking COVID-19 protocols as a member of the American Hockey League’s (AHL) San Jose Barracuda. He also had gambling issues, and the NHL gave him a 21-game suspension earlier in the season for using a fake COVID-19 card.

Former San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Despite his off-ice issues, he’s put together an impressive career with 506 points (264 goals, 242 assists) in 769 career NHL games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks. He had 49 points last season (22 goals, 27 assist) in 56 games for the Sharks.

“It’s a good opportunity,” says THW’s Rob Couch in regards to the Oilers’ potential interest in signing Kane. “[An opportunity like this] doesn’t come very often, to sign someone of that level. It is most likely a one-year contract. [contract] and under two million.”

Oilers general manager Ken Holland has spoken with Kane’s agent, Dan Milstein, and says he Believes in second opportunities. Connor McDavid, Edmonton’s most popular superstar, was also Questioned on the subject, saying, “the public opinion is obviously something that matters a lot, but we’re here to try to win games.” It seems like the Oilers are content with signing Kane, and a deal could be completed in the coming days.

Related: McDavid Brushes Off Fans, Says “Whatever” to Optics Of Kane Deal

“He’s been a problem in the locker room in the past, but it also would be a new start. You’ve heard the perspectives of Ken Holland and McDavid, where they’re here to win,” says Couch. “So, if Kane is also there to win and play well, he can get himself back in the league… I think it would work out, and I think they’ll get the deal done.”

Flyers are struggling this season, have the worst goal differential in Metropolitan Division

The Flyers’ season is not going to plan, sitting nine points out of a wild card spot with a 13-15-7 record. The team has not won in five of its last five games. They also have a minus-29 goal differential that is the worst in the Metropolitan Division. After last year’s disappointment, the historic franchise has little hope of making it back to the postseason.

Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers
Claude Giroux (Philadelphia Flyers) (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers).

“I do think there’s a slight chance [Flyers can make the playoffs] because Washington’s been iffy as of late,” says Couch. “I think Pittsburgh, Carolina and Rangers are locks. They are all healthy and should be able to play again. With six to eight games remaining on each player, the Islanders could be a great option. But it will be tough. They need new players. And be healthy.”

There are 47 games left in the regular season for the Flyers to make a turnaround. Couch points out that the team must address its problems with underperforming and injured players. Philadelphia still has time to save its season and make it to the postseason, but it will require a lot more effort from the team and dedication.

Rangers are tied for second in NHL and first in Metropolitan Division

With a record of 23-10-4 in 37 games, the Rangers are enjoying a great season. Rangers have tied for second place in the NHL with Nashville Predators (NHL) and first in the Metropolitan Division (Hurricanes). They are making great strides in rebuilding this season. The team has 36 points, led by Adam Fox (5 goals, 31 assists, and 10 goals in 32 games), and Artemi Panarin (26 goals, 26 assists, in 32 games). Igor Shesterkin is the star in net with a stellar.936 save rate (SV%) in 21 matches. But, the trio of Rangers stars aren’t the only ones contributing.

Artemi Panarin New York Rangers
Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers (Amy IrvinThe Hockey Writers

“The additions of Ryan Reaves and Barclay Goodrow, in particular, have been huge for the Rangers’ depth,” says THW’s Matt Grazel. “[Head coach] Gerrard Gallant coming in, he has experience as a head coach, but doing well in his first year with another team is also impressive.”

The Rangers have enjoyed a successful season and are poised to make it to the postseason. The team’s depth and star players have major roles in the team’s success.

“Chris Kreider’s season has been really impressive given that he’s in his 10th season and he’s arguably having his best year so far,” says Grazel “He’s been consistently one of the best, if not the best, Rangers goal scorer. Adam Fox looks even better this year than he did last. Coming off a Norris Trophy victory, he didn’t fall into a slump after winning the award.”

The Devils Defensemen Must Stand Up With Hamilton and Severson

The Devils are without its top offensive defensemen, Hamilton (broken jaw COVID-19) & Severson (COVID-19). Ryan Graves, P.K. Subban, Ty Smith and Jonas Siegenthaler rounding out the team’s core defensive group, they will need to step up in the absence of New Jersey’s star defensemen. The Devils’ loss of Hamilton, Severson was disappointing but it offers a chance for others to improve their game.

Ryan Graves New Jersey Devils
Ryan Graves, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers

“If someone takes the lead, whether it be Graves, Siegenthaler, Subban or Smith offensively, then then so be it,” says Grazel. “But I think it should be more of a collective unit.”

The Devils’ next two games are against the New York Islanders and Arizona Coyotes, who sit 27th and 31st in the NHL standings, respectively. New Jersey’s bottom-four defensemen will have a chance to capitalize on their latest opportunity with more ice time and responsibility against a couple of weaker teams.

“Ty Smith has probably the biggest opportunity out of the of the four to take that next step in his young career.”

We are grateful that you enjoyed this edition of NHL Talk. You can also listen to the THW Podcast and hear all the latest topics from the league by your favorite hockey writers.