Previous Rank: 1st
Evander Kane is pretty good at goal scoring. We all know that...
There are a few players to score the way he has. Some of his closest comparables for goals per game (within 0.01) at the same age (looking at 19-23 years old seasons) are Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, Corey Perry, Jamie Ben, and James Neal. Then remember most of the guys around or ahead were not on the second line or second power play unit.
He's played well despite never really playing with quality top-line linemates. In his time with Winnipeg (2011-14 seasons), for 5v5 minutes Kane is 63rd in points per minute, 24th in goals per minute, 1st in shots on goal per minute (out of the 360 players to play 1000+ 5v5 minutes in that time). Most of the players above him haven't had their top centres be guys like Olli Jokinen, Alexander Burmistrov, or Nik Antropov (good players, but not quite Sidney Crosby or Patrice Bergeron or Anze Kopitar or Evgeni Malkin or Jonathan Toews or...).
He has posted a 51.1% Corsi% despite playing with linemates who average well below 50% when away from him. He is also an elite penalty killer, using his high-end speed to surprise defenders.
He is not perfect by any means. His penalty differential is not what you'd hope for a fast edgy player who also draws a lot of penalties. His shot selection could improve, even if he is still getting top notch results without being picky. His power play production leads something to be desired (something that could be said of all the Jets forwards except Blake Wheeler). But he is our player.
AIH Authors' Thoughts:
Evander Kane is a wrecking ball at 5 on 5. He is among the best even strength goal scorers in the league. He has proven over the last few years that he can consistently provide offense, regardless of who he is given as line mates. Can he take it to the next level? The Jets are counting on it, but this has yet to be seen.
I'm not in denial. Kane may be cockier and/or jerkier than the average hockey player. Kane may even deserve some of the backlash he gets towards how he acts. However, he's also far better than the average hockey player. I also know I've never heard a single bad thing about him from those that have been around him in a hockey environment. The Vancouver Giants management sung praises of his character.
But, I'm talking too much about things that may or may not be. Kane is a good hockey player. He is a person that could be a part of this team to making them contenders. He could be the top winger on a contender, but this team needs a top centre and a top defenseman on a contender... This means, as Jet fans, we're hoping Mark Scheifele and Jacob Trouba pass him, due to their own performance and not Kane's.
Evander Kane is the Jets best player under 25 years old. There's simply no solid argument against it. Heck, he may be the Jets best player period. He's big, he's fast, he's strong and he's skilled. He is the Jets best goalscorer and one of the best point-scorers (despite his "struggling" over the past two years), and in my opinion he is an underrated playmaker (I want to see what he can do with line mates that can keep up to him). I think Evander is an underrated penalty killer, and I see him as one of the few Jets who give it his all night in and night out.
It's pretty clear that this is a huge season for Evander both on the ice, and off of it. People will quickly forgive his off-ice "antics" if he can continue to produce on the ice, and it's time for him to shut up the "trade him away" crowd for good.
Kane is simply the best player the Jets have under the age of 25, and he may be the most talented player on the team, period. On a team bereft of elite talent, Evander is the guy that may be the closest to having that ceiling. He’s the total package, and he produces at 5v5 better than anyone on the team despite being saddled with anchors the past few years despite only being 23. Does anyone remember when he scored 30 next to Burmi? I certainly do…
As for the off-ice distractions, it’s impossible to pin this all on him as the team and entire organization have shown a major weakness when it comes to controlling the message and leaving things unsaid. Kane is not blameless, but at the end of the day he’s still a kid. Patrick Kane and Tyler Seguin are to recent examples of "problem children". One was traded (whoops) and one was retained (multiple Stanley Cups). Which route would you prefer the Jets take?
I am a huge Kane fan. Though I saw him taking lots of shots, with little production comparatively, I'm confident he'll bounce back to 30-goal form soon. He finally has a pair of skilled playmakers to play with, which will compliment him very well. It seems playmaking doesn't come totally naturally to him, but he makes up for it with his scoring ability. Barring a major injury, there's no way he doesn't get back to 30 goals.
Just like last year, Evander Kane is the Jets' best player under the age of 25 and it'll probably remain that way until Mark Scheifele, Jacob Trouba, or Nikolaj Ehlers becomes a top-line player. Kane possesses great speed, a great wrist shot, and is physically one of the Jets' best forwards. He scores at 5-on-5 better than just about anybody on the team, and he's done a lot of it without the benefit of talented linemates.
Critics may argue that Kane produces with quantity over quality. I think more talented linemates and smarter usage - which Kane may finally receive this season, playing under Paul Maurice - ought to help in that department and Kane may be positioned to have his best season in a while. Regardless of whether it's through quantity or quality, the bottom line is that even under tough circumstances, Kane simply produces.
Kane is controversial off the ice. On the ice, he is just what the Jets need. He is big, fast, tough, and he can score. Kane has seen his goal totals drop off from the 30 he scored at 21; partially due to games played and who he has had to play alongside. Kane should see his play improve while playing along side Mark Scheifele or Mathieu Perreault. Kane is good at one thing that is harder than we think in the NHL: goal scoring. (Ed. note: Cara wants to add that she doesn't believe goalscoring is the only thing Kane is good at)
While many are questioning if he will even be a Jet this season, my question is who will be his center. Perreault may be the centre he needs, a crafty speedster that can actually keep up. Kane is not the type of player you trade just for the sake of trading. Far too many unsubstantiated rumours from day one and too many people that believe them. Trading him hurts the roster now and in the short term.
Pilot's logbook: Evander Kane
2013 Top 25 Under 25: Evander Kane
Consistency and Randomness: Creating realistic expectations for Kane