When Mark Chipman was finally successful in his bid to bring the Jets back to Winnipeg, I am sure he did not envision that his club would have to be dealing with trade rumors and petty gossip within the first six months of operation. As the old saying goes though, “The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.” Evander Kane has thrown a wrench in the machinery that is the Jets and now some of the Winnipeg faithful are left wondering if this young man is still a part of the organization’s future.
Why Would the Jets Trade Evander Kane:
The rumors started with Kane reportedly requesting a trade only eight games into the regular season. The rumors were quashed, but suspicions have lingered on. Since then, the primary reason Kane is being talked about as a player potentially on the move, is mostly because of character issues – specifically those from off the ice.
Some fans have recently been spotted at Jet games with signs that ask the young sniper to please stop walking out on his restarauant bills, and to perhaps consider tipping his waitresses now and then. Facebook groups have popped up asking for much of the same from Kane. It seems he has developed a reputation in the Peg for being a real cheap-skate. That won’t fly in a city that prides itself on finding a bargain.
To be fair, the fans have a point whether you think Winnipeggers are overly sensitive about money or not. The city’s economy is sinking anywhere from 50-100 million dollars per year into the team. In sports, it is quietly understood that the fans won’t really receive a return on this outside of the entertainment value the team provides. Sure, a few restaraunteurs might see a spike in sales on game night (although apparently not if Evander Kane chooses to dine in their establishment), but the reality is that sports teams are largely a money pit.
The least a player could do is use a part of that monstrous and wildly undeserved pay-check to give back to the community. Buy a big house and pay a lot of tax on it. Buy up fancy cars, and spend lavishly and local businesses. These are the kinds of things Winnipegger’s expect when they hand someone an annual salary north of a million dollars for playing a game.
However, the criticisms don’t stop at bar tabs – the far more serious claim against Kane is that his recent concussion was caused by a bar fight, and not a bodycheck. Winnipeg is a small city, and rumors fly fast and furious. Everyone seems to know someone who knows this is true. Whether it actually is true or not, may be irrelevant, as it seems the fans believe it. Evander Kane is walking on thin ice with the fanbase – and insulting them on Twitter (see below) is hardly helping matters:
“haters can’t see me, nose bleed seats and today I went shopping and talk was still cheap” Lil Wayne
Haters make us smile, they spend their life cloning our style. Nothin’ better to do with their time, they’ll even try to copy my dime.
To all the great Fans the don’t hate I appreciate
At the end of the day, the Jets are a team that need their fanbase to be on board with the club and their decision-making.
Why Would the Jets Not Trade Evander Kane:
While there is a compelling case to be made for moving Kane – which may need no further explanation than “if you don’t want to win here, leave!” – there are equally powerful reasons for keeping the controversial young star:
1.) Kane is an elite talent with a rare skillset and good size. He would be very difficult and expensive to replace. Power forwards do not grow on trees, and even another high-end draft pick would not be guaranteed to work out as well as Kane has.
2.) Kane is still very young, and maturity may simply come with age. The Jets will surely want to try and coach him through this period before giving up on him completely. As long as he doesn’t want out, simply adding some character veterans to the roster might help a very young team through some of these growing pains.
3.) Sometimes character isn’t a priority. Cheveldayoff was a big part of the teams that Tallon and Bowman built in Chicago, and those rosters were teeming with planetary egos like Byfuglien, Ladd, Versteeg, and Patrick Kane. Perhaps it isn’t by accident that the Jets have inherited some of that.
What Would the Jets Want for Evander Kane:
An area where the Jets really need to improve is on the back-end. Right now it looks like they have a real scoring defecit, but they have players in the system who could rectify this (ie. Scheifele), and players on the team who will probably improve as their health and conditioning improve (ie. Fehr, Miettinen, Byfuglien). While it might appear that this is the greater weakness, the real priority should be getting Pavelec some help. He’s a world class goalie who might dominate with a less offensively-minded defense-corps in front of him.
Expect the Jets to ask for a good young defensemen or defensemen prospect, and a high-end draft pick – think top ten in the draft. Kane should get a return similar to Carter last summer. He hasn’t proven nearly as much as Carter, but he also doesn’t have the enormous financial commitment tied to him.
If something extra is needed to make a deal like this work, I expect the Jets will be looking for a veteran voice for the locker-room. The team is very young and could use a winner to put everyone back on track when things go off the rails a bit.
Who Would Be Interested in Evander Kane:
The real question is who wouldn’t be interested in Kane? This guy could be the next Iginla. Anyone who can afford the high price-tag, and figures they could sort out Kane’s off-ice demeanor (assuming even half of the rumors are true), would likely throw their name in the hat. With that said, here are 5 teams who might realistically have an offer worth considering:
5.) New York Rangers
-Going for it all this year and trying to bring home the Stanley Cup
-Could use one more impact forward
-Fits the hard-hitting, ‘safe-is-death’ Rangers mentality
-Have the assets to go after a big name
Best Offer: Wojtek Wolski, Chris Kreider, 1st in 2012
4.) Vancouver Canucks
-Going for the Stanley Cup again this year
-Feel they could use one more impact forward in the top six
-David Booth has not worked out as it was hoped he might
-Have a lot of ties to Chipman and the Jets organization thanks to Moose
-Looking to deal Schneider; may not be great fit for Jets
Best Offer: Cory Schneider, Jordan Schroeder, 1st in 2012
3.) Detroit Red Wings
-Could use an injection of youth in their otherwise aging roster
-Like to have a big body power-forward on every line
-Bertuzzi and Holmstrom likely done after this season
-May not have the assets to make a trade of this magnitude
Best Offer: Dan Cleary, Brendan Smith, 1st in 2012
2.) Philadelphia Flyers
-Have an abundance of scoring forwards
-May be looking for a quantity for quality, 2 or 3 for 1 type of deal
-Holmgren never shy about trading big names and making big deals
-Recently shed “party guys” Mike Richards and Jeff Carter
Best Offer: James vanRiemsdyk, Matt Read, 3rd round pick
1.) Buffalo Sabres
-Are going to have a very high-end draft pick to deal in June
-The Sabres are a better team than their record indicates
-They may be looking to improve now rather than wait on draft picks
-Have excess defenders to deal (ie. McNabb, Gragnani, Brennan)
-Would like to get bigger and nastier after Bruins have embarrassed them
Best Offer: McNabb/Gragnani/Brennan, 1st in 2012 (lottery area pick)
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