If the San Jose Sharks are successful in terminating Evander Kane’s contract— which the NHL seems to believe the Sharks have the grounds to be successful— the Edmonton Oilers should seriously consider Kane as a free agent option. Kane is a locker-room cancer argument is valid. However, there are many positive aspects to Kane’s on-ice talents.
Without getting into the conversation of cost — one of my fellow THW writers will be doing so and we’ll assume Kane would be a cheap addition — this article will focus on some of the other factors GM Ken Holland might want to consider.
Second Chances in a Limited Window
There’s always an argument for giving second chances to a player, especially one with incredible talent. Sure, this would be Kane’s fourth or fifth chance, but perhaps even Kane can keep his act together for a few months. Frankly, the Oilers aren’t going to ask Kane to stay above reproach for four seasons. They don’t need him to be in trouble for four more months. You would think Kane could do it, especially since he knows so much about the outcome.
Kane must realize that this is his last chance. It’s his last chance and he won’t get another. If he can’t make his next destination one where the team that lands him does anything but sing his praises as an NHL pro and an asset to the team, he’s done.
Talk to Kane. Make it clear the leash is extremely short and that the organization won’t hesitate to bury him in the minors or pay him to simply sit out and watch. Kane might be able to produce results even if it is only for a few short weeks. This is a player that scored 22 goals in a shorter season last year. He’s still got the skills to score in bunches.
Desperate times call for desperate measures
The Oilers aren’t quitting. They do need some help, however. A team that is struggling mightily, there are real questions about how to fix the Oilers’ woes. Great if the players can get out of their slump. If they can’t, any other move is going to cost this team assets.
Related: Oilers’ Trade Targets on the Seattle Kraken
It’s possible that Ken Holland might be trying to kick tires on Marc-Andre Fleury, or Carey Price. First, there’s no guarantee either becomes available. Second, adding them won’t come cheaply; expect a first-round pick to go the other way, for starters.
Kane doesn’t cost anything, and it is probably not much. Kane needs to see the Oilers both as a great opportunity to win, and also as a chance for him to make a name for himself. If the cards fall right, this could be one of the steals of the season, and will the bonus is that it will get done well ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline, where, if it doesn’t work out, the Oilers have time to pivot.
What do the Oilers have to lose?
This move would have seemed outrageous a few months ago. But the Oilers are only one playoff win away from a coach change. Next on the horizon is the general manger. After that?…
If Holland goes to Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse and runs the idea by them, the conversation stops when they say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” If all three think they can handle the incoming personality that comes with acquiring Kane, why wouldn’t the GM trust the leadership group? Mike Smith or Duncan Keith could weigh in. They might say adding Kane is worth the risk and tell Holland this room is either strong enough to handle the player or fragile enough now that Kane’s addition won’t make the team more of a mess than it already is.
It was argued that this club had a great camaraderie and that the wrong combination of players could bring down the club. With the losing streak getting longer each game, and many players suffering from COVID or injury it is now less persuasive.
At the end of the day, Kane fills a number of obvious needs for this Oilers group and there’s only one good reason not to bring him in. It is now a question of how much Kane can help on the ice over how distracting he might be.
It’s a fair question.
Jim Parsons is a Senior THW Freelance Writer, Part-Time Journalist, and Audio/Video Host. He lives, eats, breathes, and watches the NHL news and rumors. While also writing about the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”
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