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Evander Kane

(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Can The Oilers Afford To Keep Evander Kane?

Evander Kane
Can the Oilers afford to keep Evander Kane? After a monster year in Edmonton, Kane may have priced himself out of town which is bad news for Oiler fans. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Can The Oilers Afford To Keep Evander Kane?

Nobody has scored more goals thus far during the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs than Evander Kane (13). Love him, hate him, it really doesn’t matter. Kane is damn good at hockey. There is just one problem. Kane may have priced himself out of Edmonton and the Oilers aren’t real contenders without him.

Ken Holland, the Oilers general manager, hasn’t exactly done himself any favors with his cap sheet this offseason. The fact of the matter is, Holland has botched a lot of the personnel decisions on the fringes of the roster.

Edmonton will enter the offseason with $7,130,205 remaining in cap space. That’s an issue for two reasons.

A: Evander Kane isn’t the only impending free agent the Oilers have to worry about retaining. Brett Kulak also needs a new contract and did a hell of a job after coming over as a midseason pick up from Montreal. Mikko Koskinen is apparently heading overseas so the Oilers also need another goalie regardless of what they do with Mike Smith.

The Oilers also have two restricted free agents to take care of. Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujärvi both need new deals as well. The Puljujärvi one appears way more tricky on the surface. Especially given the fact that his poor finishing rate makes it tough to project his next deal.

B: Edmonton boxed themselves in a corner and I’m not sure there is a way out. I’m a Darnell Nurse fan but paying him an AAV of $9.25 million is totally outrageous. Nurse is at least productive. Paying Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, and Duncan Keith more than $13 million combined is really what’s screwing the Oilers.

At this rate, Kane is going to have some suitors. Maybe he won’t hit his old $7 million AAV that he had with San Jose. Still, any significant contract offer that comes in for Kane will be tough for Edmonton to match. Given Kane’s financial troubles, I have a hard time believing a hometown discount will be given.

Edmonton needs Kane on the ice. They were night and day a different team without him. Prior to signing Kane, the Oilers were 5th in the Pacific division. They ended up basically finishing second in the West losing to Colorado in the playoffs. Given how flawed the rest of the roster is, Kane’s impact can’t be understated.

How far will the Oilers extend to keep Kane? With limited resources, Edmonton will have to try to shed some bad contracts in order to even make it happen. It’s a storyline that needs to be watched this offseason. If Connor McDavid feels that management isn’t helping him get to the promise land, we have a whole different set of issues. That starts with bringing Kane back because they have no other choice.

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