We know that the Vancouver Canucks are interested in Evander Kane because general manager Jim Benning admitted as much this week.
It’s not quite that simple though, and the club is reportedly debating whether or not they can afford to wait until after the March 2nd NHL trade deadline to make the Winnipeg Jets a credible offer for the 23-year-old power forward, according to ESPN and TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.
“In a perfect world they’d rather go after (Kane) in the offseason because they’re going for the playoffs,” LeBrun said during an Insider Trading segment broadcast on TSN Tuesday evening. “They don’t want to give up a roster player as part of a package for Evander Kane, but they know if they wait, maybe the ship goes by on Evander Kane and they miss out on their chance.
“That’s a debate right now for the Canucks – ‘do we have to act before March 2nd?'”
In addition to his comments on Insider Trading, LeBrun elaborated on the dynamics from Vancouver’s perspective in an ESPN Rumblings blog post. In his ESPN piece he broached the possibility that, hey, maybe the Canucks fall apart down the stretch and end up giving away a really high draft pick for Kane, who is set to miss four-to-six months as he recovers from shoulder surgery, if they pony up to acquire the controversial former Vancouver Giants forward over the next three weeks:
The debate for Vancouver is that, while it would make more sense to wait until the offseason to make a play for Kane, because the Canucks are trying to make the playoffs and Kane won’t play again until next season, the danger in waiting is that Winnipeg could move him before the March 2 deadline.
So if you’re Vancouver, and you really want Kane, can you afford to not make an offer now?
Then again, what if that first-round pick you throw in the package suddenly becomes a top-10 pick if your season unravels in the final month of the season?
No doubt that’s a risk, but it’s not a tremendous one. Vancouver currently has an 82.5 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason, according to SportsClubStats.com while @ineffectivemath pegs them at 72.5 percent. Even if the club misses the playoffs, they’re likely to do so narrowly, and Vancouver’s management team should probably be comfortable with swapping a 10th overall selection (or thereabouts) for a player of Kane’s age and abilities.
The real risk here is actually pretty minor: that the Canucks make the deal, miss the playoffs, and win the lottery despite having extreme long-shot odds of doing so. Come to think of it, if Benning and company were to trade their first round pick, that lower lottery slot would for sure hit the Connor McDavid jackpot.
It doesn’t even matter if the pick Vancouver moves to Winnipeg has two percent odds or something horrifyingly unlikely like that. As any good Canucks fan knows the mostly sordid, historically awful luck of the Canucks franchise would pick that precise moment to strike in the cruelest fashion imaginable.