With the NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement set to expire on September 15, several star restricted free agents fresh out of entry-level deals may find it difficult to get their new contracts done. Young guns like P.K. Subban, Jamie Benn, John Carlson and Ryan O’Reilly are a few of the RFA’s hoping to land a new deal before the upcoming deadline or face the uncertainty of trying to sign under the new CBA.
For the Winnipeg Jets, their Franchise player also falls into this category as 21-year-old Evander Kane remains unsigned as the deadline approaches.
The club’s first-round, fourth-overall selection in 2009, Kane already has three years of NHL experience under his belt and despite often displaying his superstar potential, there have also been some trying times for the Vancouver native.
Coming off a team-best 30-goal season with the Jets, Kane was sometimes criticised for playing an individual game and was also said to be running into problems off the ice with fans. There was then an off-season controversary which rumoured Kane as having asked to be traded; a rumour that was quickly squashed by his agent.
Although Kane’s production cannot demand the $6 million per year that other under-23 stars like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Jeff Skinner have recently earned, he has done enough to ask for a deal somewhere in the $4-$5 million range. A superb skater with electric straight-line speed, the release of a 50-goal-scorer, and the intensity and competitiveness to match, there is no question that Kane has the tools to be the elite player who can one day justly demand the kind of money designated for the game’s best.
And that is where the difference comes in for both sides. The Jets would like to lock Kane down with a longer contract worth a little less than his ultimate value, while Kane, sensing that he is not far off from becoming a superstar in the league, would likely want a shorter deal so that he can seek bigger bucks in a couple of years.
All of this will be figured out in due time of course, but the impending expirary of the current CBA, and the uncertainty surrounding a new one certainly throws a wrench into the negotiations between Kane and the Jets.
Uncertainty. That word has become the theme of the NHL’s off-season and will continue to plague the upcoming season in an exhausting manner.