As expected, other options have begun to emerge as potential solutions for the Rangers’ offensive woes outside of Zach Parise and Rick Nash. Parise has already declared his disinterest in signing with the Rangers and Columbus’s asking price for Nash is still through the roof, but there are other players that could help supplement the Blueshirts’ attack.
Trade rumors are building steam as the draft approaches and it does seem as though some significant names could be available. One of particular interest is Winnipeg Jets left wing Evander Kane.
The 20-year-old, a restricted free agent, is reportedly unwilling to negotiate a new contract with Winnipeg, spurring speculation that he could be trade bait this week.
Plenty of teams would heavy interest, but if Kane is indeed available, GM Glen Sather should get Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff on the phone.
Kane was drafted fourth overall in 2009 and is still younger than Chris Kreider and Derek Stepan. He has only begun to scratch the surface of his ability, yet has put up goal totals of 14, 19 and 30 in his first three seasons with the Jets/Thrashers.
Kane’s advanced metrics are nothing to write home about, but that’s as much a product of him playing for a perennial doormat as anything else.
As The Suit pointed out last week, the Rangers have a glaring deficiency of big-bodied forwards with ability, and Kane is exactly that. He currently stands at 6-foot-2, 190 lbs and although he could still pack on some muscle, he’s already an imposing physical presence and a heavy hitter (173 last year).
There are rumors that Kane has been a bit of a problem child and while it’s a little unnerving that Kane may have already worn out his welcome with his first club this quickly, he’s also been thrust into unusual circumstances. Kane was drafted by an awful Atlanta team that had no fans and just as he turned 20, the franchise migrated to the frigid climate of Manitoba.
It’s uncommon for a player as young and talented as Kane to become available, but if he is indeed on the market he could become one of the biggest stories of draft week.
Still, Kane will likely command significantly less than either Nash or Ryan in a trade because of the aforementioned locker room issues and because he is still relatively unproven.
Multiple interested clubs could drive the bidding up, but if a package of something like the 28th overall pick, Tim Erixon and Christian Thomas is enough to pique Winnipeg’s interest, then the Blueshirts should strongly consider pursuing a deal.
Adding another young piece with massive potential is always a wise move, especially when it could shore up the lineup’s greatest weakness.