There has never been any denial of just how skillful Evander Kane is. Combined with his physicality and scoring ability, he’s essentially a prototype of the ideal forward.
However, for as talented as Kane is, he’s still yet to reach his full potential. Yes there’s been glimpses over the years, but his various injuries and off-field controversies have stopped him from producing on a more consistent basis.
Which brings us to the Oilers, who took a chance on the 32-year-old just when it seemed like he’d wasted his last opportunity, in San Jose. He subsequently justified the gamble by showing some of the best form of his career to date over the second half of the 2021-22 season.
Kane finished with 39 points (22 goals and 17 assists) in 43 games, as he set career-bests with a +25 plus/minus and 14.5 shooting percentage. He continued his excellent form into the playoffs, with 17 points (13 goals and four assists) in 15 games.
As a result, the Oilers rewarded the 2009 fourth overall draft pick with a four-year, $20.5 million deal. And he started off the 2022-23 season continuing where he’d left off, with 13 points (five goals and eight assists) in 14 games.
Unfortunately for everyone concerned, Kane suffered a wrist injury in the 14th game, which required surgery. He did return sooner than expected, but just couldn’t get back on track.
However, aided by an offseason to get fully healthy, we predict this is the season the Vancouver native finally shows what he’s fully capable of. And not just because he will be regularly lining up alongside Connor McDavid.
Kane is just that talented, exemplified by improving the Oilers’ even-strength play when he’s available. In addition, he feels a debt of gratitude to an organization willing to bet on him, when many others wouldn’t.
Yes, there’s still the underlying concern the winger could revert to his previous penchant for indiscretions. However, as long as he can remain healthy, he should prove to be a key component in the Oilers’ quest for Stanley Cup glory.