Should the Toronto Maple Leafs pursue Evander Kane?
Everyone deserves a second chance in life, but when you’re on your third, fourth, and potentially fifth chance, at what point is enough, enough?
If you look at the Toronto Maple Leafs depth chart, one of the team’s biggest holes in their top-six is the left-wing position. Michael Bunting and Alex Kerfoot have done a tremendous job thus far, but in a big playoff series, you’d rather rely on a player who can be a difference-maker.
One player who can be a difference-maker is Evander Kane.
He only has 13 points in 29 career playoff games, but his regular season numbers have been great. He’s a seven-time 20-goal scorer and plays left-wing with an edge. He’s not afraid to hit, fight and will be an agitator that every team hates to play against.
His play on the ice can’t be argued.
When he’s at the top of his game, he’s one of the best power-forwards in the NHL and every team could use his services. However, it’s his off-ice qualities that make the decision of signing him very difficult.
Signing Kane Is Worth the Risk for the Toronto Maple Leafs
Evander Kane is exactly the player the Leafs need and the team seems to be a tight enough group that they can absorb any potential shenanigans that comes with signing him.
If Toronto signs him, the media is going to be all over the executive team and will continue to ask Kane questions about his past. It’ll be a distraction, but it could be a welcomed distraction for a team that hasn’t won anything since 1967.
Instead of putting the onus on the team’s core-players, the media may look at Kane instead.
After getting his contract terminated, you’d have to think that Kane would want to be on his best behavior for the next five months and show the hockey world what he can do on the ice. The next five months are the most important months of his hockey career if he ever wants to earn another big contract.
Just look at Antonio Brown in the NFL a few years ago. He was a media-circus and bounced around from Pittsburgh, to Oakland to New England and it felt like he may never get another chance.
However, because he’s so skilled, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him, he scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl and helped the team win a championship. Brown’s mayhem continued off the field, but they absorbed it for a year and went onto a win a title.
Although Brown eventually got back to his same ways in year two of his deal, he did everything he needed to do in year one and helped the team win a Super Bowl, which was the most important thing.
Kane’s problems off the ice are bad, and pretty similar to Brown’s, so if Brown can get a second, third and/or fourth chance, Kane probably should to.
Toronto has the organizational structure to turn Kane’s career around and if he’s going to play anywhere in the NHL, it may as well be in Toronto because a line of Kane, John Tavares and William Nylander would be the best second line in the NHL.