Is Evander Kane having a great season? No, not really. He has been plagued by injuries and his production is down a bit. I am sure he would tell you as much himself. It is darn apparent that the kid is driven and wants to be better. Kaner has his a goal scoring drought, but some of the criticism being levied at him is ridiculous and unfounded.
Let's talk facts - facts like actual scoring rates (5 on 5):
Numbers via www.behindthenet.ca
- In this down season, Kane is scoring more goals per minute than any other Jet at even strength.
- In this down season, Kane is second on the team in primary assists per minute.
- In this horribly under-perfoming season, Kane is 4th in total points per minute.
- Kane's secondary assist rates are amazingly low. This is unlikely to sustain itself.
Kane does this regardless of who his coaches line up next to him and he has for three years.
To put it simply, he is an offensive wrecking ball at 5 on 5 and there aren't many players like him.
Yes, Evander could stand to score a little more. He definitely needs to figure out how to better work within a powerplay. Perhaps he could use his linemates a little better. Perhaps he could work on his passing game, but the narrative about him being unproductive is silly. Kane is one of the Jets most productive players at 5 on 5 and he has done this at a young age.
Kane is performing well for his age and it is important to realize that not everybody progresses linearly.
Evander Kane is still a relative NHL baby.
For some further perspective, let's take a look at what some other Jets when they were 22 year old:
- The numbers come from Hockey Reference
- The leader in each category has been bolded.
- Hint: One guy leads every category
Is this analysis definitive? Of course not. It doesn't take into account usage, ice time or anything of the sort and if I could predict the future, I would probably be doing something productive instead of writing this. Just wanted to offer a little bit of perspective on what Evander Kane has done. He is still ahead of the curve, despite a down season.
Remember: On average, NHL players peak offensively at 24 to 26 years old:
This is Evander Kane's 22 year old season. His progression isn't out of line.
If his growth follows that chart, the next couple years will be fun.