Could the Calgary Flames be interested in orchestrating a deal with the Winnipeg Jets that helps the fledgling Manitoba franchise rid themselves of their recent Evander Kane headache?
It seems like a long shot, but the club is interested in exploring the possibility, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
“The Canucks, Flames and Capitals have thought about it or would at least like to explore (the possibility of trading for Kane); Kane intrigues them that much,” McKenzie wrote in a digital column on tsn.ca on Monday.
“Flames’ GM Brad Treliving is under no illusion that the (currently) playoff-bound Flames are a legitimate Cup contender, that there’s a grander vision in place,” McKenzie continued. “It’s possible a piece like Kane could, under the right circumstances, make sense in Calgary.
“Winnipeg would undoubtedly want Calgary’s top prospect, Sam Bennett, and that’s not anything the Flames would be prepared to do. Maybe there’s a Plan B there to work a deal for Kane; maybe there’s not.”
Obviously if the price in a potential Kane deal is Bennett this isn’t a transaction the Flames should touch with a ten-foot poll. And they won’t.
If a plan-B including names like Josh Jooris, Jon Gillies, Mark Jankowski, Mogan Klimchuk, Michael Ferland, or even Emille Poirier would be interesting to Winnipeg though, then this could be a very intriguing possibility for a Flames team that’s already poised to be absolutely stacked in a few years time.
Though Kane is perceived to be working through some issues related to immaturity and an inability to fit in with what the Jets players seem to see as their team concept, there’s no questioning his physical play and goal scoring ability.
JetsNation.ca’s Garret Hohl recently took an in-depth look at Kane’s abilities as a goal scorer and two-way player:
Kane scores goals at a faster rate than the average first liner, and his points sit in between the average first and average second line player. For the Jets, he places in second for goals and fifth in point production.
If you are really set on using the inferior points per game rate rather than per minute rate, Evander Kane’s 0.69 points per game rate is 82nd in the NHL for active players with 100+ games played. This number rises up to 59th if you select only listed wingers at hockey-reference.com; the young forward falls between the mis-listed David Backes and Brad Marchand.
Scoring is important – someone has to put the puck in the net – but out scoring your opponent is more important. Under the same sample, Kane has posted a 51.3 Corsi For percentage. The average player in their respective depth position sits at 51.9, 50.7, and 49.3. Kane’s Corsi percentage combining this season and the last sits at 51.8 percent, and rises to 52.0 percent when you adjust for his teammates and line matching.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Kane would fit in with the Jets is his elite even-strength shot rate. Though the Flames have scored just enough goals to hang tough in the Pacific Division this season, they’re a bottom-five team by 5-on-5 shot rate. They’ve been reliant, perhaps too reliant, on favourable offensive bounces.
Well over the past four seasons, including this one, Kane ranks second in the entire NHL in 5-on-5 shot rate behind only New York Rangers forward Rick Nash. He’s done this mostly while playing with stiffs like Kyle Wellwood, Olli Jokinen, Alex Burmistrov and Adam Lowry.
Now imagine him on the left flank of Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan and you’d really be cooking with oil… For the next decade.
If the Flames want to address their shot generation issue long-term, Kane would appear to fit the bill. Though the 23-year-old power forward won’t be available to help the club make a playoff push down the stretch, if Winnipeg is willing to settle for any of Calgary’s secondary prospects as the centrepiece in a swap for Kane, Treliving and Brian Burke should be all over it.