The more Evander Kane scores, the more expensive his next contract is going to be. It’s a win/lose situation for the Edmonton Oilers: they absolutely want and need him to score to give the team the best chance at winning in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they also want to re-sign him and with every puck he puts behind the opposition’s netminder, he’s getting more and more pricy.
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Kane ripped home a beauty feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to score the Oilers’ eighth goal of the evening on Friday as the Oilers defeated the Los Angeles Kings 8-2. It was Kane’s first career playoff hat-trick and his fifth goal of this year’s playoffs. He now leads the NHL in goals scored in the first round and the Oilers are up 2-1 in the series.
Evander Kane Edmonton Oilers
Evander Kane now has 27 goals in 46 games played with the Oilers. He’s been exactly the right fit for the team and with every game, he’s proving GM Ken Holland right. While other GMs overlooked him, Holland was the only GM who saw how good Kane could be. It will be hard to justify not offering Kane an extension or convincing someone like Connor McDavid that the team couldn’t find room to keep someone so productive around.
The Oilers’ record is 30-12-4 with Kane on the team and that’s not a coincidence. Kane’s own personal stats and the team’s stats will certainly come into play as the Oilers and Kane’s reps talk extension. And, if the two sides aren’t close, there will certainly be teams chomping at the bit to sign him, even if they glanced over Kane before.
What Should the Oilers Do?
Outside of the obvious answer ‘sign him’, it’s not that simple. If the Oilers want Kane back, it will cost them at least $5 million annually. That wouldn’t be so bad if the team didn’t also have to find room to re-sign Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ryan McLeod, Kris Russell and Brett Kulak. Some of those players won’t be back, but the Oilers would certainly love to keep a good chunk of that group.
To do so, the Oilers will need to make other sacrifices. Among them, possibly not signing a top-tier goalie and running with the tandem of Mike Smith and Stuart Skinner next season. Perhaps it means moving Tyson Barrie and/or Zack Kassian, both of whom have been quite useful in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
Needless to say, the decision to sign Kane won’t just be about the dollars Edmonton will have to shell out to keep a forward who is on an incredible offensive run. It will be about what the team will have to give up in terms of other assets, while also paying Kane what the open market will command.
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