WINNIPEG - Somethingís not right in Winnipeg. There hasnít been a juicy Evander Kane rumour in several days.
It was, at times, a tough first season in the Manitoba capital for the 20-year-old, who was still young enough to play in the WHL last winter but was instead in his third NHL campaign. He was dogged by off-ice issues in the early going, but he bounced back to finish with 30 goals. Not bad for a youngster.
Now, however, the Vancouver native is about to become a restricted free agent if the Jets canít get his signature on a new contract by Sunday morning. Other teams would then be able to offer Kane a contract, but the Jets would be able to match it. If they donít match it, the Jets would get draft picks in return, the number depending on how much the contract is worth.
Itís hard to picture the situation ever getting that far, even though there always seems to be plenty of drama when it comes to Kane.
RDSís Renaud Lavoie reported earlier this month that Kane was unwilling to negotiate a new contract with the Jets, but that proved to be untrue as the sides chatted last weekend at the draft in Pittsburgh.
So how much does he deserve? How long should the deal be? Well, last season Kane joined Alex Ovechkin, Steven Stamkos, Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Evgeni Malkin, Anze Kopitar, Patrice Bergeron and Jeff Skinner as players who have scored 30 goals at age 20 or under. Thatís an elite list of players.
On the other hand, Kane doesnít have the all-around game most of those players possess. His passing skills leave a little to be desired, and he needs to show a few more moves in the offensive zone. His game is still developing.
So the Jets obviously donít want to give him the password to the Swiss bank account, but they canít ignore the 30 goals, either.
He obviously deserves plenty more than than the $900,000 salary, $90,000 signing bonus, the $250,000 bonus he got for 30 goals and any other perks he might have received for his play. Give him a good chunk of money ($3 to $4 million per) for a few years, and by the end of that deal the real identity of Evander Kane will be known.