TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie joined The Drive with Dave Naylor on TSN 1050 earlier today and had this to say about the current situation with Evander Kane and the Winnipeg Jets.
“I think they’re going to have to think long and hard in the off-season how they are going to handle this, there’s no sense in knee-jerking a micro situation where obviously there was some degree of tardiness for something that cost him a healthy scratch.
They’re going to have to figure out, is he all in with us, and are we all in with him. We certainly indicated that by giving him the contract that he got. There’s no disputing he’s a very good player, a little inconsistent, goes long stretches where he doesn’t score at all, then shoots the lights out and at the end of the year ends up with really good numbers. For all intents and purposes a 30 goal guy, Tremendous speed and unbelievable athletic ability.”
“Is he 100% happy being in Winnipeg? People have always wondered. Is he too big for that market? That he needs to be in New York, or Vancouver. I think the Jets have always indicated that they wanted him to be a part of things, that’s why they gave him the contract. But, I think this summer both sides are going to have to sit down and decide where they’re at. Is he all in on the Jets? And if he is, are they all in on him?
Or, explore the market and find out, as a team that lacks depth. This is the thing, he’s a really good hockey player, and you don’t give away really good hockey players, and you sometimes don’t get back fair value for really good hockey players when you try to make that 3 piece move where you get a really good young player, a first round pick and a top prospect.
If Evander Kane requested a trade, that’s always been there percolating even for the last year, I’ve checked it out and I’ve always gotten the stock answer which is a stock answer, no he has not asked for a trade. That comes from his representatives, that comes from the team. It comes back to, was it formal? Was it nudge nudge wink wink?. You get caught up in semantics whether someone has or hasn’t asked for a trade. The question is as I said before, are they all in?”
“In the case of Kane, if Kane came out and said, yeah you know what; I’d like to move on. I don’t feel like the Winnipeg Jets would be like oh my god. They would say, that reflects more on Evander Kane, than it does on us. Andrew Ladd had a chance to leave and not be a part of the move to Winnipeg, and he was all in. Blake Wheeler, and Bryan Little had chances to do shorter term deals to ultimately lead down to the road to unrestricted free agency and they went all in instead. They haven’t so far had anybody in their group say get me the hell out of here. If Kane were to say that, they would point to that and say that’s more on Evander Kane than on us, we have had no problem with the rest of our players.
They’re steadily building towards something. They brought Mark Scheifele in this year who’s a real good player for them, filled a big hole in the middle, they’re still a little shy there. Olli Jokinen’s had a real good year but he’s one of the elder statesmen in the National Hockey League now and maybe they ask him to do too much on a nightly basis. Bryan Little’s a good player, a very good player, but not a pure number one centre and they don’t really have one of those guys. They’re a little thin in the middle, but they’re getting better all the time and they’re continuing to draft well and they’ve got some guys coming. I don’t think they’re at a position where they’ll make a quantum leap forward. But when I look at the Western Conference and look at the Winnipeg Jets, do I think they’re getting better each year? Yeah I think they are.”