It's been a few months since Evander Kane trade rumors popped up, so frankly we were pretty due for this. The Winnipeg Jets forward was a healthy scratch Tuesday night after apparently breaking a team rule by wearing a track suit to a meeting instead of an actual suit. Ink was spilled, feelings were hurt, rumors have spun.
The sh*t storm surrounding Kane since he arrived in Winnipeg from Atlanta in 2011 has been pretty unparalleled in hockey, even as other players like Tyler Seguin, Jeff Carter and P.K. Subban have faced similar criticisms. He's been vilified in Winnipeg for such egregious errors as holding up a giant stack of money and pretending it was a phone on a Vegas balcony and shaving something into his hair, which is somehow newsworthy. Add the uncomfortable, obvious tinge of racism to all of this and well, it's really pretty terrible.
Meanwhile, he's been a phenomenal hockey player -- mostly on a bad team, unfortunately -- and is a bonafide top-6 winger in the NHL. I won't waste time making the case because it's already been done so well elsewhere, but trust me. The Flyers are weak at left wing and Kane would quickly fill that gap. I mean, you think Jake Voracek and Claude Giroux are dominant now? Imagine adding 20 goals and the skills that Kane has on that line with them. Or imagine Kane as the key guy on a second line. It's drool-worthy.
More on Kane to Philly'
More on Kane to Philly'
Kane might be interested in Philadelphia. Back in June, the last time trade rumors cropped up around him and the Jets, he actually favorited a tweet that asked Ron Hextall to acquire Kane. Not really a big deal, but could be a window into his thinking. Or maybe it was an accidental fat-finger move on his phone.
But there was real, actual interest from Ron Hextall -- to the point where a deal was "very close," according to TSN's Bob McKenzie. That was in September, and the Flyers overall focus has not shifted much since then despite the poor season they are having.
So if there's interest, what would stop a deal?
Well, money for one. The Flyers are -- as always -- right at the salary cap, and there's no guarantee that it's going to move much in time for next season with the Canadian dollar in flux. Kane is due $5.25 million against the cap until the summer of 2018, and that deal brings him to unrestricted free agency that year. Unless the Flyers can get some of these huge, ugly contracts off of their books -- nobody is taking Andrew MacDonald or Vincent Lecavalier right now -- adding another $5.25 million against the cap is going to be hard.
The Flyers might have some pieces to trade away, and Winnipeg likely wants two good NHL pieces and some mix of picks and prospects, and if there's enough interest they just might get it. Maybe Nick Cousins is an option on the prospect front -- I'm not sure how the Flyers think of him as an NHL prospect or future Flyer, but I doubt he's "untouchable" and he's clearly showing his worth in the AHL right now. Hextall does have a first round pick up his sleeve this year, but trading it seems frankly insane given that it will likely be a top-10 pick. As for the NHL players, we're probably talking about Brayden Schenn and/or Sean Couturier, as we always are when it comes to trade rumors and the Flyers.
Then again, the Jets are in a rough position in terms of leverage, and maybe Hextall could talk him down. It all depends on the market, but Winnipeg is kind of shooting themselves in the foot by the way they've handled Kane all along.
In any event, this is all to say that it would be an expensive and difficult deal for the Flyers to make, and they'd have to shed some salary in the process, only complicating things. The idea of Evander Kane on the Flyers is certainly enough to make one glaze over in a dreamy stupor, but I don't know if it would be worth it to a team that has other things to worry about right now.