Hockey

Do the Oilers Get Better With a New Face in Their Forward Group?

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On Jan 28, the Edmonton Oilers welcomed former San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane to their group. Questions in the media developed whether Kane would be a positive addition to the team, or a negative one. There were several issues he had while playing for teams in Buffalo, Winnipeg, and San Jose. 

The contract for the new Edmonton winger is only for one year which could identify whether or not he is a good fit for the club. He will make $750,000 along with bonuses in $625,000, which is a great deal for a player of his caliber. 

“I would encourage [fans] to be open-minded, to allow me to do what I do best and get to know me on the ice, off the ice, around the rink, in the community, and see what I bring to the table,” Kane said, according to CBC Sports

In his season and Oilers debut, Kane notched his first goal in the matchup against the Montréal Canadiens, where the Oilers routed the Canadiens in a final score of 7-2. Kane was the first player to score in the meeting, giving the Oilers the upper hand for the first time in a while. 

Getting another look at number 91 against the Ottawa Senators Monday night, Kane went without a point as the team only deposited two goals however, he played a very consistent game where he constantly proved he wants to play a very physical game. 

Does Kane Fix the Oilers Depth?

Kane adds to the Oilers depth, and he makes the possibility of a strong third line possible. As mentioned previously, Edmonton notched seven goals against Montréal as all four of the lines contributed to that win. Oilers captain Connor McDavid went without a point that night, which went to show the Oilers were able to produce even without their number one, and most relied on forward. 

Kane isn’t exactly the solution to the Oilers depth, but he provides a possibility of it for the Oilers. The center depth went to McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins down the middle for the top three lines. Kane was shown to play on McDavid’s left wing along with Kailer Yamamoto

Does the Signing Show Desperation?

Prior to the signing of Evander Kane, the Oilers went on a long seven game losing streak. Recently the Oilers were able to add four straight to the win column which ended against the Senators on Monday. The fanbase and the management in Edmonton showed panic and desperation. It was believed Head Coach Dave Tippet would be terminated from his job however General Manager Ken Holland implied he won’t fire a coach mid-season. Holland’s solution was to sign a high caliber player for a bargain of a price, regardless of his off-ice background. 

The Oilers have yet to solve their inconsistent goaltending and at least one more left-pairing defenseman. Going after the player that has been targeted for years for negative values is a gamble and it is one the Oilers were willing to take over some other teams. 

McDavid in an interview said that he had reached out to Kane saying the franchise is looking to go on a run, and it appears the words from number 97 had been convincing enough for him. 

Kane’s Future in Edmonton

Depending on how Kane acts on and off the ice for the remainder of the current campaign, this will likely be the impact of how long he stays in an Oiler uniform. It also may not be up to management as Kane could look to increase his value for another team once his single year contract expires. The future of the newest acquisition remains a mystery. Oiler fans have a fun player to watch in Kane, so hopefully this team is a fresh start for him to leave the darkness of other teams behind him, to move forward. 

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