Benning: Canucks ‘would be interested, for sure’ in Evander Kane (Audio)

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Count Vancouver in among the Evander Kane suitors.

During intermission of a WHL Vancouver broadcast on TEAM 1410, Canucks GM Jim Benning said that his club would be interested in acquiring Kane, the controversial Jets forward that’s currently sidelined 4-6 months following shoulder surgery.

Transcript of the interview:

TSN 1040: How busy will Mar. 2 be? How busy might the Canucks be on deadline day?

Benning: It’s hard to say. I’ve talked to other general managers and there’s some uncertainty next year with the Canadian dollar and where the salary cap’s going to go to. I think that’s going to have an impact on how many deals are made, but if we can do things to make our team better now and in the future, then we’re going to look at them, and we’ll see where it goes.

TSN 1040: Any Evander Kane? His name’s out there. Would there be an interest in Evander at all if you had the opportunity?

Benning: We can’t really talk about other teams’ players, but we would be interested for sure.

Here’s the full audio of the interview (Kane material is at the very end.)

Two quick takeaways:

1) There may be accusations of tampering. The NHL is pretty stringent when it comes to talking about players on other teams; in 2009, Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson was found guilty of tampering and fined an undisclosed amount after he expressed interest in Vancouver forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin — before they reached free agency.

That said, the Kane situation deals with a player currently under contract, which may not constitute tampering. Around the same time as the Sedin incident of ’09, the Canucks also filed a separate charge after then-Leafs GM Brian Burke appeared on television and discussed a rumored Vancouver-Tampa Bay trade.

NHL deputy commissioner called Burke’s actions “unfortunate and inappropriate,” but explained they didn’t constitute tampering under league rules.

2) This is the strongest confirmation that the Canucks want to bring Kane back to Vancouver. Many have thought the 23-year-old’s long pined for a return to his hometown; he was born and raised in the city and played his junior hockey for the Giants, helping the team capture the 2007 Memorial Cup.

In a post earlier today on TSN, Bob McKenzie wrote that Vancouver “would be at the top” of the list of teams interested in acquiring Kane:

The Canucks want to make the playoffs, make no mistake. But the new regime of general manager Jim Benning also knows as important as it is to stay competitive and strive for playoffs, there’s a long-range vision, too, and getting a 23-year-old Kane fits into that plan.

The rub, though, is Winnipeg is sure to want a package that includes one of the Canucks’ best young prospects – centre Bo Horvat and/or Jake Virtanen – and that’s a non-starter for Vancouver. Is there a package that includes a Canuck roster player and a different prospect (Jared McCann, for example) that might intrigue the Jets?

Perhaps we’ll find out.