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Oilers Need to Make Massive Decision on Evander Kane This Summer

The Edmonton Oilers are going to have to pay to keep Evander Kane who has 20 goals in 39 games. Is he worth it?

With 20 goals in less than half a season, Evander Kane’s hat-trick on Friday night versus the Colorado Avalanche put a huge stamp on his impact this season and made it very clear he’s going to be a player teams are interested in after almost all of the league ignored him coming out of his situation with the San Jose Sharks. The Edmonton Oilers took a chance on the winger and it has paid off in spades as the team has gone on an incredible run and clinched a playoff berth.

Related: Oilers Need to Start Thinking About Draisaitl and McDavid Extensions Now

At this point, there’s little doubt the Oilers — if not a discussion led by Connor McDavid — will sit down at the end of the season and try to find a way to re-sign Kane. How can they not? He’s everything McDavid needed on his wing and he’s a lot of what the Oilers were missing. He’s fast, skilled, relentless, physical, intimidating, and unafraid. He was easily the biggest trade deadline acquisition by any NHL club this season and he’s the ideal fit for the Oilers in what they hope will be a long playoff run.

If the Oilers are going to try and keep all of Evander Kane, Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto and Ryan McLeod, what has to go?

But, is this one and done? Is this a 40-plus game showcase and a situation where the player will inevitably be moving on? That might have been the plan going in when the Oilers signed him to a team-friendly one-year deal. That said, fans in Edmonton won’t be happy if he leaves this summer and the Oilers have a big decision to make.

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector says, “Sorry, but there is no chance Edmonton can fit him under their cap.” Noting Kane will be paid as if he’s a 40-goal scorer in the NHL, the Oilers will have competition for the player’s services and have to juggle their own cap situation. Even if Spector is wrong, he is right in suggesting that Kane will cost a lot. Expect $5 million by four seasons to be the starting point for extension discussions. It could reach $6 million if other teams get involved.

The Oilers will need to move money and that would likely include some combination of Zack Kassian, Tyson Barrie being traded, and possibly letting one of Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto leave.

While Barrie and Kassian seem like logical choices considering Kassian’s inconsistency and Evan Bouchard filling Barrie’s role effectively, saying goodbye to a younger RFA with a ton of upside and keeping an aging forward like Kane on a long-term deal isn’t a slam-dunk decision.

Kane has been consistently productive throughout his NHL career, but is he as good as he’s playing now? Is this a situation where the Oilers and Kane are riding a wave that won’t last forever? Or, is Kane the real deal and his chemistry with McDavid will exist for three or four more seasons?

Next: Mike Smith Surging at Exactly the Right Time for the Oilers

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