Update: Jets’ Kane responds to Wheeler’s ultimatum
After months of mixed (at best) statements between the player and the team, Evander Kane said he was happy to be with the Winnipeg Jets recently.
What really matters is how Kane and the team performs going forward though, really. At 23, Kane is at or around the peak years for a star forward, so fellow prominent Jets scorer Blake Wheeler might be fair in throwing down the gauntlet as he did with ESPN’s Craig Custance on Tuesday:
Wheeler on E. Kane: He’s coming to the stage of his career where he’s no longer a young guy. He needs to step up & be a leader on our team.— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 9, 2014
Update: Apparently Kane came across Wheeler’s comment and offered this rather interesting rebuttal:
Naturally, it’s not just about Kane. Wheeler shared his take on what he thinks will be a winning strategy for Winnipeg:
Blake Wheeler says Jets goal is to use team speed to advantage, "try to skate teams into the ground."— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 9, 2014
In some ways, Wheeler’s speed-oriented strategy talk reminds of Taylor Hall hoping that the Edmonton Oilers can evoke the New York Rangers’ puck possession and speed from their 2014 postseason run in that it’s all about playing to a team’s strengths.
Of course, such a strategy will be a lot more successful if one of the league’s budding power forwards can flirt with (if not, dare we say, best) his 30-goal form from 2011-12.
In case you’re wondering, only eight percent of PHT voters said the Jets shouldn’t trade Kane, while a slight majority said Winnipeg should only move him if there’s a strong market. Long story short, the jury is very much out on a power forward with a lot of potential who draws quite a bit of controversy.