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Rosner: Islanders Should Avoid Evander Kane At All Costs

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On Saturday, the San Jose Sharks announced their plan to terminate the contract of forward Evander Kane. The 30-year old forward has not appeared with the San Jose Sharks this season as he was suspended before the start of the season due to an attempt to submit a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

Upon his return to hockey, he had been a member of the San Jose Barracuda, the Sharks AHL affiliate.

But it seems that Kane has failed yet again to follow COVID-19 procedures, and that is what San Jose has decided to end their relationship. Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now had the story on Kane’s latest mistake.

If terminated, Kane becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign a contract with any team in the NHL.

This is not a story debating whether the Islanders should go after Kane. Quite frankly, due to his mistakes on and off the ice, he’s proven to be a player who does not put the team first and is not trustworthy.

And in any job, trust may be the strongest character trait needed to keep a job and excel within the job. And it’s sad to see a player with so much talent struggle to behave and follow basic rules.

But there’s no debate. The Islanders and Kane are not a fit. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

Since the Islanders brought in Lou Lamoriello as president of hockey operations who then brought in Barry Trotz as head coach, the Islanders’ mentality changed. The Islanders’ game plan changed.

It’s been a strict organization.

There are rules, rules that, if not followed, lead to consequences. Not that anyone has been booted from the island due to a little hair growth on the cheeks, but even that basic rule is enforced. There are rules that we do not even know about, and all these rules, whether you like them or not, put focus on the smallest of details, the same thing that Trotz looks for from his players during games.

It’s what has led to the franchise’s turnaround before whatever you want to call this season.

This past offseason, defenseman and prospect Bode Wilde did not get vaccinated, and despite how anyone feels about it, the ruling within the organization was that if a player did not get vaccinated, he would play somewhere else.

Again, you may not have liked that move but the only opinion that mattered was that of Lamoriello’s.

The organization has been one where if a player does not follow the rules, he does not play. And when asked to name the first player that comes to mind that breaks rules, Kane shoots off the tongue faster than an Alex Ovechkin one-timer.

Kane would never be in consideration as long as this upper management was still at the helm.

But, in sports, we see off-ice antics are ignored due to strong on-ice performance.

Kane was the best player on the 2020-21 Sharks team, and it was not close. A power-forward Kane lit the lamp 22 times with 27 assists as he played in all 56 games. He averaged around 1.7 hits per game and has always been a player that could stand up for himself.

But he does not play a two-way game, and it comes down to one little tidbit from Trotz a couple of months back that answers this question with a no.

Despite being the most productive forward for the group, islanders forward Oliver Wahlstrom was not awarded top minutes.

When asked about it, Trotz discussed trading chances.

Despite the chances Wahlstrom had created or buried on, those chances had come back the other way too often.

Looking at the strong season Kane had in 2020-21, no one could question his offensive production. However, when you look at the chances that went the other way, there was a reason San Jose finished 26th in the league standings.

While their best player was on the ice (5 on 5), San Jose scored 41 goals and allowed 41 goals. The scoring chances were 402 to 389 in favor of the Sharks, the high-danger chances were 157-156 in favor of Kane’s team.

That is the definition of trading chances.

In 2019-20, Kane’s first season in San Jose, the numbers were even worse when he was on the ice. His team was outscored 44-36, out-chanced 448 to 442, and the high-danger chances comparison was 184-178.

Kane is a scorer in the NHL, but he’s not a sniper. And a sniper is what the Islanders need, preferably one that is in the spotlight for good reasons.

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