Would you jump at the chance for him to join the Winnipeg Jets?
First of all, had he been playing in a backwoods like Buffalo, N.Y., Kane scarcely would have shown up on your radar screen since he broke into the National Hockey League five years ago. Be honest now. Can you name five guys on the Sabres roster? I know I can't. So, at best, you would have seen Kane on a few late-night highlight packages, and you likely would know nothing of his off-ice antics.
Thus, if you learned that he was available in a trade, you'd have to go strictly by the numbers. They aren't impressive. He has one 20-plus goal season. He has never come close to scoring at a point-per-game pace. He is injury prone (discounting the 2012-13 shortened season, he has not yet played a complete schedule).
GP G A Pts
66 14 12 26
72 19 24 43
74 30 27 57
48 17 16 33 (48-game schedule due to NHL lockdown)
63 19 22 41
Basically, there are only two numbers that place Kane in a favorable light—his one 30-goal season and his age, 23 (in August).
Thus, had he been playing in Buffalo, I doubt very much that you would be demanding that Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff move mountains in order to obtain Kane.
But, because we've watched him do his thing in the Little Hockey House on the Prairie for the past three winters, we know there's more to Kane than your basic numbers, don't we? We know he's big, strong, fast, tough, not afraid to drop the mitts. We know he's a work in progress. He has serious upside. Some are convinced he'll develop into a 30-40 goal scorer.
Why, if he were to play on, say, Sidney Crosby's left flank, he'd probably score 50 goals a season, right? I mean, if that kid Chris Kunitz can score 35 goals as Crosby's caddy, surely Kane would light the ol' lap 50 times, right?
Therefore, in any discussion of Cheveldayoff dealing Kane away from River City, we place a high value on the return. Chevy must get a first-round draft choice. He must get a top-six forward. He must get a prospect.
The thing is, I'm not convinced others around the NHL see a perennial 30-40 goal guy. More like a 20-30 goal guy. Is another GM willing to sell the farm for that? Not bloody likely.
I'm not saying Kane is a slug. I'm not saying I wouldn't want him on my team, because you don't find perennial 20-30 goal scorers at the bottom of a Crackerjack box. I think Kane is a terrific player who's going to get better. I am, however, saying he might not be worth as much in barter as we think. We might be placing an over-value on Kane.
So, if Cheveldayoff pulls the trigger on a deal that involves Kane, don't be too disappointed at the return.
You might even think Chevy got fleeced.