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Oilers Players Are Taking on Evander Kane as Playoff Project

One insider believes the Edmonton Oilers’ players and leadership group are working on Evander Kane to get him playoff-ready.

If he can’t find a way to get there himself, the Edmonton Oilers players have decided they will get Evander Kane ready for the playoffs. At least, that’s a theory put forth by NHL insider Elliotte Friedman. Friedman believes the Oilers are treating Kane as a playoff project of sorts, trying to use their stroke as a leadership group and get him back where he needs to be in time for the postseason.

Considering Kane is critical to the Oilers’ playoff success, it’s a wise strategy, especially because the messaging that comes from his peers might sink in more than any messaging coming from his coach.

Related: Evander Kane and Corey Perry Explain Blow Up on Oilers Bench

What Is Friedman’s Theory on Evander Kane?

During the latest 32 Thoughts podcast, Friedman threw it out there that he believes the Oilers have taken it upon themselves to get Kane up to his previous playoff standards. Players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, along with now Corey Perry, have gotten in Kane’s face in recent weeks, expecting a higher standard of play out of him.

Corey Perry Edmonton Oilers goal

Friedman explained:

My theory is that the Oilers know if they’re going to be successful in the playoffs, they need Evander Kane. And they don’t just need him to be moderately engaged. They need big pain in the ass Evander Kane. They need top four checker in the league Evander Kane. And I think they’ve just decided that they are going to ride him until he gets there.

Friedman suggested the plan is “tough love and it’s not going to be the coach who’s going to do it, it’s going to be the players who are going to do it.”

Did the Oilers’ Leadership Group Ask Perry to Help?

Interestingly, Friedman also thinks McDavid and Draisaitl might have gone to Corey Perry and specifically asked for his assistance with this project. The Oilers’ two stars believe their voice carries weight, but also that Perry’s does too. He’s a veteran who is well respected and he’s playing on the same line as Kane. That could be why Perry was so vocal over what was really not much more than a minor mistake.

Friedman pointed out Kevin Bieksa‘s comments that he said is that Perry get visibly vocal like that often. Friedman added, “So my theory, and I got a lot of theories, but my theory is McDavid and Draisaitl have gone to Perry and said, “We need your help with this because you, in addition to us, you also have the gravitas as a veteran player to go to him.”

Next: Oilers’ Secret Playoff Weapon: Perry, Kane, and McLeod’s Cohesion

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