Still waiting for Kane deal

- August 20th, 2012

It appears the Winnipeg Jets and Evander Kane still haven’t closed the gap in their negotiations on a new deal for the restricted free agent.

Although it’s less than a month before the current CBA is set to expire, there simply hasn’t been any tangible urgency to get this deal closed, which doesn’t mean it’s not a priority for either side.

Could the NHL-NHLPA labour negotiations be playing a role in that? Sure, but we don’t think it’s a huge factor in the process, at least not yet.

It’s important to remember that defenceman Zach Bogosian (an RFA last summer who didn’t have arbitration rights) didn’t sign his deal until a couple of days before training camp officially opened, so it’s a bit early to really fret.

The Jets want to lock up Kane in a new deal, preferably a multiyear deal and although GM Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t talking about the negotiations publicly, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a deal that lasts somewhere between four and six years.

Under the current CBA, Kane would be free to become an unrestricted free agent after four more seasons (giving him seven seasons of service under his belt) and since he’s an August birthday, he’d only be 24 when he became a UFA.

It’s natural to think that Kane’s camp is most comfortable with a four-year deal but they’d probably be open to tacking on an additional year or two to ensure the left-winger stays in the fold a bit longer. Historically speaking though, buying those extra UFA years has been known to drive up the price.

But how much would extra would it cost the Jets?

That’s the multi-million dollar question right now.

We’ve thrown out the comparables before, ranging from Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks at just over $5 million per season on five-year deals to John Tavares of the New York Islanders, who comes in at $5.5 million for six seasons.

There have been a few other deals signed during the past few weeks that some folks are using as a barometer as well and here are those examples:

Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers: 6 years, $28.5 million ($4.75 million cap hit)

Wayne Simmonds, Flyers, 6 years, $23.85 million ($3.975 million cap hit)

Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens, 6 years, $27 million ($4.5 million cap hit)

Jeff Skinner, Carolina Hurricanes, 6 years, $34.35 million ($5.725 million cap hit)

Each of these four examples is merely to show that six-year deals are still an option, although length of contracts is one of the sticking points in the CBA negotiations (owners are said to want five as the maximum going forward).

All four players offer different skill sets and intangibles, but they all bring plenty to the table as gifted hockey players.

You would expect that Kane’s camp (agent Craig Oster of Newport Sports) is hoping to pull in a number closer to Skinner, while the Jets would probably prefer to stay closer to $4.5 million per season, depending on the term.

All that’s left is for the gap to be bridged as negotiations go to the next level.

To this point, we don’t think a line has been drawn in the sand by either side and at the end of the day, it probably makes sense for both sides to meet somewhere in the middle.

But that’s up for the folks involved in the negotiation to decide and when they do so is anybody’s guess.

We’re not in the camp that believes Kane is afraid to make a long-term commitment to the Jets organization because he wants the glitz and glamour of playing in a bigger city that might offer more off-ice endorsements and things of that nature.

And by signing D-man Toby Enstrom to a five-year extension worth $5.75 million per season, the Jets have shown once again that they’re not afraid to ink important pieces of their core to long-term deals for significant dollars.

That’s why we’re sticking with the premise that it’s only a matter of time before the Kane deal is going to get done.

Once the two sides find a number that is comfortable to both of them, that is.

From where we sit, it’s looking more and more that it will take somewhere around five million dollars per season (give or take a few hundred thousand dollars) in order to get that done.

As the saying goes, stay tuned.

Categories: Hockey

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2 comments

  1. caretaker110 says:

    I am hoping we trade him. I don’t want to see him in Winnipeg

  2. JL says:

    He doesn’t want to be here. I believe he has potential to be a good player, but needs to grow up. I can’t stand how players think one good (not great) season makes them extraordinary. Another season with 30 or even 40 goals might make me a little more of a believer in him….a few assists wouldn’t hurt either. He is not at Tavares levels yet. Besides scoring points, Tavares seems to be more mature and a good team leader. Kane is not even close yet.

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