Evander Kane's Historical Comparables

All of these are forwards who were drafted high, started their careers early, and had statistics similar to Evander Kane's:

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
2010-11 73 19 24  43   4  234
2009-10 66 14 12  26   0  127

So we're looking for 19-21 year olds on the 20-goal bubble, with roughly the same number of assists, with a little bit of power play contribution their 2nd year, with 3 shots per game (up from 2 shots per game the previous season).

Using a revised version of the Snepsts system, we found over a dozen players that qualified - let's see if any of them match Evander Kane this season (who is on pace for 30 goals and 50 points), and shed some light on what the future may store.

Phil Kessel

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
2007-08 82 19 18  37   5  213
2006-07 70 11 18  29   1  170

An excellent match, Kessel scored 36 goals and 60 points the following season, a level at which he has played ever since, already having secured his fourth straight 30-goal season (might wind up being the only player with an active streak that long).

Michael Frolik

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
2009-10 82 21 22  43   5  219
2008-09 79 21 24  45   1  158

A great statistical match going into this year, but scored only 11 goals and 40 points the next season. He's even worse this season - down to 13 minutes a game. Shooting at just a 4.6% clip since the match year (Kane 11.6%).

Blair Chapman

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
1977-78 75 24 20  44   4  180
1976-77 80 14 23  37   1  152

Doesn't quite have Kane's shot volume. Managed only 10 goals and 18 points the following season, but bounced back nicely with 132 in his next 176 before retiring at age 26.

Lanny McDonald

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
1974-75 64 17 27  44   2  168
1973-74 70 14 16  30   2  142

Followed this up with a huge 37-goal, 93-point season, his first of 9 straight 30-goal seasons, 6 of which were over 40 goals and one of which was an amazing 66. A Hall-of-Famer, with a Stanley Cup and four All-Star game appearances.

Sam Gagner

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
2009-10 68 15 26  41   6  170
2008-09 76 16 25  41   6  156

Started even younger than Kane, and a much hotter rookie start, thanks in part to ample power play opportunities. Followed up with an almost identical season, and on only a slightly stronger pace this year.

Corey Perry

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
2006-07 82 17 27  44   4  194
2005-06 56 13 12  25   4   98

A late-round steal by the Ducks, got more power play time in his rookie season, and again not quite the same shot volume as Kane. Scored 29 goals and 54 points the next season, then up to the 30-goal, 75-point level except for a superb 50-goal, 98-point performance last year - also developing a defensive game.

Tom McCarthy

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
1980-81 62 23 25  48   4  147
1979-80 68 16 20  36   1  101

Doesn't have quite the shot volume as Kane, otherwise a great match. Scored 42 points in 40 games the next season, and essentially a point-a-game clip through five more injury-riddled seasons. An All-Star in 1983, is 13th all-time with a career 19.2% shooting percentage.

Wayne Merrick

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
1973-74 65 20 23  43   2  147
1972-73 50 10 11  21   3   81

Fewer shots and slightly different power play results than Kane, but followed this up with two straight seasons in the 30-goal, 65-point range. Played seven more seasons topping 20 goals just once, but enjoying four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders.

Scott Mellanby

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
1987-88 75 25 26  51   7  190
1986-87 71 11 21  32   1  118

A far rougher player and a slightly later pick, Mellanby followed this up with a 21-goal, 50-point season. He had a super-long career (23rd all-time in games played) featuring six more 20-goal seasons (two of them 30+), and an All-Star appearance in 1996.

Justin Williams

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
2001-02 75 17 23  40   0  162
2000-01 63 12 13  25   0   99

A later round pick, Williams was injured the next season with shoulder and knee problems. Got back on his feet a few years later with back-to-back 30-goal seasons and a Stanley Cup, but his still-active career has been otherwise hampered by injuries.

Bobby Holik

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
1991-92 76 21 24  45   1  207
1990-91 78 21 22  43   8  173

A bigger and rougher player than Kane, and with a stronger rookie season (thanks to ample power play opportunities). Scored 20 goals and 39 points in 61 games the next season. Enjoyed a very long career in which he had six more 20-goal seasons, two Stanley Cups, two All-star games and a fine defensive reputation.

Adam Deadmarsh

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
1995-96 78 21 27  48   3  151
1994-95 48  9  8  17   0   48

A much rougher player, Deadmarsh had a comparable 33-goal, 60-point season the next year - a career high until his last full season at age 26 where he scored 29 goals and 62 points the year before his career-ending concussion.

Garry Unger

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
1968-69 76 24 20  44   5  186
1967-68 28  6 11  17   0   57

Undrafted, a little smaller, but had more of a defensive upside than Kane. Followed this up with 42 goals and 66 points. A long career, with seven straight All-star appearances, eight straight 30-goal seasons and once held the iron man record for consecutive games.

Jordan Staal

Season  GP  G  A PTS PPG Shots
2008-09 82 22 27  49   2  166
2007-08 82 12 16  28   3  183

A large player with a much stronger defensive game, started even younger than Kane with a monster 29-goal rookie year. Followed this up with an almost identical season, and then 30 goals and 57 points over the next 82 games (spread out over two injury-plagued seasons).

The Verdict

There's ample historical precedent for a long career with All-Star appearances and long stretches of 30-goal seasons for Kane, like McDonald, Unger, Kessel, Perry, Holik and Mellanby (especially if he develops a defensive game like most of them). Furthermore, unless he succumbs to injuries like Staal, Deadmarsh, Williams and McCarthy, there's little precedent for disappointment, like possibly Frolik and Chapman.

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