Evander Kane and the Devils?
It’s no secret the Devils need a lot of things, but getting another good goal scorer is a must do for the team at this point. They are relying on 42 year old ironman Jaromir Jagr to lead the team in points, with 15 in 26 games. Mike Cammalleri also has 15 points, but faces injury issues, much like the rest of the team. Only 7 players have 10 or more points, and 2 of those players are defensemen. Jagr’s team leading 15 points is tied with Eric Staal for lowest for any team leader in the league.
The rumors of an Evander Kane trade have also surfaced back up again, too, as always. Kane has faced issues in Winnipeg, including production, off ice, and discipline issues. Kane is notorious for taking untimely penalties, including getting a 5 minute penalty plus a game misconduct for hitting Clayton Stoner from behind the other day. Kane, taken 4th overall in 2009, has only eclipsed 50 points once in his career (2011-2012 season), but when put in the right situation, could produce bigger numbers. A line of Evander Kane, Travis Zajac, and Jaromir Jagr, with Mike Cammalleri as a second punch, could have Peter DeBoer licking his lips.
The price for Kane would be huge, however. Although considered to be overrated by some, it’s still not easy to pry a former top-5 pick and 23 year old from any team’s hands. The Jets have also had some defensive injuries over the past months, including Zach Bogosian, Grant Clitsome, and Tobias Enstrom, which forced Dustin Byfuglien to move back and could be a good starting point in negotiations.
A deal including Jon Merrill OR Eric Gelinas could be hammered out, depending on what the teams want. The deal struck up could be:
Dainius Zubrus, Jon Merrill or Eric Gelinas, a first round pick in 2015 (top-10 protected, can be switched to 2016), and a later round pick for Evander Kane and another player.
Yes, it seems like overpaying on behalf of the Devils, but sometimes that’s what needs to be done. It’s tough giving up good young blood like Gelinas or Merrill, but getting a young scorer in need of a spark is what the team needs. The Devils will still have one of Gelinas and Merrill, Zidlicky, Greene, Severson, Larsson, and one of Salvador, Harrold, or Helgeson when all healthy for the rest of the season on the back end to help Cory Schneider. The Jets defense would consist of Enstrom, Bogosian, Merrill or Gelinas, Trouba, Stuart, and one of Pardy, Clitsome, or Potsma when all healthy, and would help ease the blow of having Ondrej Pavelec in goal. Not a bad corps for both teams.
In all, it’s a move the Devils need to go after, whether it’s Kane or another option at some point in the near future. Nothing will change if they don’t sacrifice assets to get a player like this, and the time to act is now if they want to have a legitimate push for the playoffs in these last 4 and a half months. If not, see where you finish, and retool during the draft and try to deal your pick there.