With the lockout imminent and the threat of a long term suspension of contract talks looming, the Winnipeg Jets announced late this evening that they have retained the services of restricted free agent Evander Kane.
Kane has signed a new 6-year deal worth 31.5 million dollars, meaning that he will be a Jet through the 2017-2018 season. He will be 26 years old when the contract ends, meaning there is a possibility that he will still maintain RFA status, pending a new CBA agreement. His cap hit is5.25 million per season, which is not a bad deal at all for the Jets or Kane.
With multiple contracts being signed this off-season for young stars in the 6-year 6 million a season range, this has got to be seen as a good deal, if not slightly higher than the initial 6 year 27 million dollar deal that Gary Lawless talked about earlier in the off-season.
Kane, 21, is coming off his third NHL season in which he led all Jets with 30 goals and finished the season with 57 points in 74 games.
With much speculation and rumor mongering over Kane not wanting to play in Winnipeg and numerous teams allegedly having interest in the budding superstar, this is news that should be much welcomed by Jets fans. This re-signing serves as a stern warning that you should not believe every rumor you read on the internets.
@HockeyInsiderr had tweeted rumours of the Canadiens trading their RFA, P.K. Subban, for Kane as neither player wanted to stay with their respective team. (HockeyInsiderr doesn't get a hyperlink because he doesn't deserve the publicity)
Eklund at Hockey Buzz was saying earlier today that 4 teams (Blues, Blackhawks, Flyers, Maple Leafs) were lined up knocking on the door offering trade packages for Kane.
Numerous other allegations about Kane not being a team player, not paying his bar tabs and being too big for his britches also swam around as the "fans" and "media" took a liking to making this kid their whipping boy.
In reality? It's all crap. Complete genuine crap.
Never once did we hear it from Kane or his agent Craig Oster that this was the case. Delays in contractual negotiations, especially those with no case of urgency due to the impending lockout just prompted various "unnamed sources" to come forward with their expert opinions. People just read into non-stories and jumped to conclusions far too much -- which is always a bad idea. Kane obviously wants to be here, and wants to be here long term.
In reality the Jets have retained the services of one of their bright young stars for the next 6 years. I'm sure both Evander and General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff are very pleased to have gotten this contract signed before the lockout and can now move onto more pressing issues.
Like ending this stupid lockout.
So with that I say, "Welcome back, Evander!". Even though he was never actually gone. Looking for many more memorable moments with you in Polar Night Blue.