Mar 08, 2012; Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA; Winnipeg Jets forward Evander Kane (9) during the warmup against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

Could Evander Kane Be Leaving Winnipeg?

There are few people as exciting in hockey today as Evander Kane.  He’s a 30-plus goal scorer still with room to grow.  He’s a great checker relative to his size.  And to top it all off, he has proven to be one of the best fighters in the league with this bout here as proof.  Scouts and fans alike few him as the complete package.

And since it is considered to be a no-brainer to lock up Kane for a long time, it has surprised a whole lot of people in the hockey world that he is still dangling out in the open as a restricted free agent.  And when added into the mix is the mess of rumors that Kane is unhappy in Winnipeg, the corner of every GM’s eye is on the situation.

Could Evander Kane actually hit the open market?  Could he actually be holding out on contract negotiations so he can fly the coop?  The longer Kane goes unsigned, the answer to both those questions appears to be moving closer to ‘yes’.

There are many theories as to why Kane might want to move:  Maybe it’s the inhospitable weather in Winnipeg during most of the hockey season.  Maybe it’s his reported “rift” between him and head coach Claude Noel.  Maybe Kane wants to go to a franchise with better Cup aspirations than the Jets at this point in time.  It could be all or none of those, but it’s no longer out of the question to think that Kane could be in a different uniform for the next NHL season, whenever that will be.

Of course, the lockout portion of things is very likely hurting negotiations, as it is with every team.  Questions about salary cap room, contract length, and almost everything else in hockey are being debated right now, so it’s certainly tough to work out a deal with so few guidelines.

But that’s not to say it’s impossible.  Large contracts were the norm this offseason, as guys like Jeff Skinner, Sidney Crosby, and Zach Parise and Ryan Suter all cashed in big time with long, expensive deals.  It would be easy to only chalk up the lack of progress in the Kane case to the lockout, but there seems to be more than just that.

It’s all just speculation at this point, but the fact that Kane remains unsigned should concern all the Jets’ fans.  Their team’s star appears restless, and there’s no longer a guarantee that he will return to Manitoba.

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