Evander Kane is unquestionably a fantastic Hockey player who could improve any team in the league, however, does that outweigh all the baggage that comes with him?
I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that Evander Kane is the most controversial character in Hockey right now. Over the past few years, there have been a plethora of accusations levied against him, from assault to betting on games, and his most recent controversy, violating the AHL’s Covid protocols, has led to the Sharks voiding his contract. With Kane now in free agency, this leaves the door open for the Oilers to sign him, but this all depends on how they see the situation. I’m going to try and present compelling arguments for and against the Oilers signing Kane by looking at the situation from both sides.
The Case For: The case for signing Evander Kane is pretty simple. Ignore the off-ice stuff and just look at what he does as a player. Over his career, Kane has proven that he has the capability to consistently score somewhere from 25-30 goals and I think it would be safe to assume that that production would just increase if he played alongside McDavid or Draisaitl. He would be an excellent addition to the Oilers’ top-six offensively, however, he also excels on the penalty kill. For a team that is seriously lacking offensive support, Kane would be an undeniable improvement from the team, but this isn’t to say he’s a perfect player. Kane has led the NHL in penalty minutes over the past two seasons, so as great as his penalty killing is, that’s rendered useless when he’s the one in the box. Again, the case for Kane is entirely reliant on looking at just the player, not the person, which seems like something Connor McDavid might be willing to do. In a recent press conference (video below), he made clear his indifference to the situation and off-ice factors, so do with that what you will. Overall, the case for the Oilers signing Evander Kane can be pretty compelling, they desperately need help in any way they can get it, it just depends how far they’ll go to find it.
The Case Against: The case against signing Evander Kane hinges entirely upon his off-ice controversy, which there’s plenty of. I won’t get too into it here, there are many other better places to read about this, but here’s a brief rundown. In 2016, while with the Buffalo Sabres, he was accused of assault twice for allegedly attacking women. Recently it was revealed that Kane is 26 million dollars in debt because of gambling, and has even been accused of betting on his own games. He has also been accused of domestic violence, including sexual assault and domestic battery, by his ex-wife. Along with the aforementioned violation of AHL Covid protocols, there are plenty of other accusations that I won’t get into here, since I feel like I’ve made my point. It’s not really my place to be making moral judgments of people I don’t know but I feel pretty safe in saying that Evander Kane is not a good guy. That’s the case against signing him. Some of this stuff he’s been accused of is objectionable and if true, should lead to him being in prison, not Edmonton (I know it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes).
I understand talking yourself into wanting the Oilers to sign Evander Kane, he’s a really good hockey player and with the Oilers spiraling right now they could use all the help they can get. That being said, the stuff that Kane has been accused of is awful and even though none of it has been proven, I think given how many accusations there are, it would be irresponsible and send a pretty bad message. Do the Oilers really want to be the type of franchise that is willing to overlook all this stuff? I don’t doubt they would, but personally, I hope they don’t.