There was a time when Evander Kane and the Vancouver Canucks looked like a match made in heaven.
A native of East Van and a former member of the Vancouver Giants, Kane fell out of favour with the Winnipeg Jets. The Canucks, meanwhile, were hanging on to an aging core and needed a young, dynamic winger with size and physicality.
The Canucks were interested in Kane when he was dealt to Buffalo in 2015 and they were interested as recently as last year according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
And now, with the 25-year-old winger reportedly back on the trade block, once again everyone is wondering if he’s destined for the Canucks.
“Vancouver is always a possibility,” Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said about the possibility of the Canucks trading for Kane in an interview on Edmonton radio two weeks ago. “I know that rumour has always been out there and Vancouver could definitely use some scoring.”
With the amount of discussion emanating from hockey’s most prominent insiders lately, it looks like a certainty that Kane will get dealt this offseason. If the Sabres don’t re-sign Kane, they run the risk of losing him for nothing at the end of next season. He has one year left on a contract that carries a $5.25 million cap hit.
Los Angeles is said to be interested in Kane, but people will always speculate about Vancouver’s interest.
Given Buffalo’s need for defencemen, many are connecting the dots with Chris Tanev, but that should be a non-starter for the Canucks.
In fact, Kane should be a non-starter for Vancouver.
The risks in acquiring Kane are far too great for the Canucks, a team that has finally admitted that they need to rebuild.
Kane’s off-ice problems are well documented. Most recently, he was charged for allegedly grabbing three women by the neck, hair, and arms during an altercation at a Buffalo bar last summer. The case was dismissed, but Kane’s actions were caught on camera. His behaviour was described as “arrogant, boorish and surly, but not criminal,” according to Erie County District Attorney Michael Flaherty.
The off-ice issues should scare the Canucks away from Kane. Do they really want him hanging around their young and impressionable players as they enter the league? How will he perform with a team like the Canucks, who are likely still going to go through some rough patches?
Even if you get past the transgressions, there’s reason to stay clear of Kane.
He turns 26 this summer, which is still young, but he may be past his prime sooner than you think.
Kane has already played eight NHL seasons and has been hurt a lot. There’s a lot of miles on the power forward, who has missed 93 games over the past four seasons. Given that, he’s not likely to age gracefully.
The thought of trading Chris Tanev, who could be an important part of a contending team, for Kane is laughable. The Canucks should shop Tanev, but for the right price. Vancouver needs prospects and draft picks, not reclamation projects.
The third overall draft pick owned by the Dallas Stars, which is said to be in play, is what GM Jim Benning should have his eye on.
It’s going to be a long road back to becoming a contending team, and shortcuts are not only risky, they’re foolish.