Kevin Cheveldayoff is willing to consider trade offers for Evander Kane. The Winnipeg Jets’ general manager said so at the draft in Philadelphia.
“If there’s a [player on the Jets] that a team has an interest in, my phone is open for a phone call,” Cheveldayoff said in response to a question about Kane’s status with the club.
And after yesterday’s “so we’ll see what happens” remark from Kane himself, one wonders if a few GMs around the league might be taking advantage of that open-phone policy.
But if Kane does want out of Winnipeg — and he sure didn’t deny he does — Cheveldayoff will no doubt want to achieve a couple of things with any trade.
1. The 2014-15 Jets can’t get significantly worse. Winnipeg has already missed the playoffs in its first three seasons since moving from Atlanta, and the Central Division is already tough enough. Which is to say, if Kane is traded, a good NHL-ready player better be coming back in return. A package of picks and prospects isn’t going to cut it. Too much uncertainty there. And too much pressure on Cheveldayoff to get results. Now.
2. That NHL-ready player better have a reasonably long future in Winnipeg. Kane, 22, is signed through 2017-18, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. Which is to say, if Kane is traded, it can’t be for a guy who could leave town in a year or two. Nor can it be for a player who’s going to come to town and pout, a la Jeff Carter in Columbus.
Adding to the challenge for Cheveldayoff is the fact Kane doesn’t have the greatest reputation. For all the undeniable talent the former fourth overall pick possesses, there are questions about his attitude, and about how he gets along with teammates and coaches.
Whatever happens, the Jets can’t let this situation fester (to borrow a phrase from a team that had its own unhappy player) much longer.
As Kane said yesterday, “there’s been speculation and rumors for the three years since” he got to Winnipeg.
And as Cheveldayoff said at the draft, “there’s been lots of different rumors out there.”
The solution? Either Kane is traded or, if it’s not too late, the two sides reconcile and tell the fans they’re committed to each other.
Because it can’t keep going like this.