Evander Kane mum on contract talks with Jets

Unsigned Winnipeg Jets winger Evander Kane was at an EB Games in Winnipeg on Monday for the launch...

Unsigned Winnipeg Jets winger Evander Kane was at an EB Games in Winnipeg on Monday for the launch of EA Sports NHL 13 but didn't shed any light on his contract negotiations. (KEN WIEBE/QMI Agency)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:08 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Before the ink dries on a new contract, Evander Kane isn’t about to profess his love for Winnipeg or tell members of the media that he wants to spend the rest of his NHL career with the Jets.

When you’re a restricted free agent in the NHL, a statement of that magnitude amounts to a loss of leverage in negotiations.

And right now, Kane isn’t interested in leaving any money on the table.

So while there are sure to be some folks who interpret Kane’s lack of a declaration as yet another sign he doesn’t want to be with the Jets for the long term, we’re not in that group.

Not yet anyway.

When we made our way over to EB Games at Crosstown Station on Monday evening, we weren’t expecting to learn much about where things stand between the Jets and their talented left-winger.

A couple of nuggets would have been nice, but despite the prodding from a couple of scribes, Kane wasn’t about to take the bait.

Much like Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff and Kane’s agent Craig Oster before him, Kane politely tiptoed around the various questions, including one about the persistent rumour that he wants to be traded.

“All of that speculation kind of followed throughout the entire season and that’s exactly what it was,” Kane said before signing autographs for several hundred fans at the launch for EA Sports’ NHL 13 video game. “I’m not going to talk about anything in the future or any contract type of stuff. That’s between my agent and Winnipeg to sort something out.

“We’ll see what happens.”

After putting up a career-best 30 goals and 57 points last season, Kane made it perfectly clear that he still believes he can take his game to another level.

“Absolutely, there’s a lot of growth and a lot of room to improve,” said Kane, the fourth overall selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. “I’m trying to become a better hockey player — continuing to work on my shot, my skating, passing, everything. I’m going to be a better player this season and I’m going to continue to become a better player after every summer.”

When we changed the subject ot his thoughts on playing in his third consecutive World Hockey Championship for Team Canada this past spring, Kane talked about the disappointment over losing to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal and how eye-opening it was like to skate alongside Anaheim Ducks stars Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Provided NHLers are playing in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Kane is shooting to wear the Maple Leaf.

“Yeah, that’s the goal. You want to be on that team,” said Kane. “That’s pretty much the peak of world-class hockey. If you’re playing in the Olympics, that’s the best of the best and that’s where you want to be.”

We should know soon enough where Kane actually wants to be for this season and beyond.

It’s unlikely Kane’s new deal gets done before the CBA expires on Saturday at midnight, but just because he kept a Poker face doesn’t mean that he’s banging on Cheveldayoff’s door demanding to be moved either.

All we know right now is that Kane still hasn’t received a deal from the Jets that he’s willing to sign.


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