As the Edmonton Oilers battle their way towards the 2022 NHL postseason — with a 9-5 blip along the way versus the Calgary Flames on Saturday night — there is plenty of talk about the future of forward Evander Kane goes. Kane was brought into Edmonton as an early deadline deal and he’s been incredible, Saturday night being one of the few games he did not register a point on the score sheet. Is he destined to be a one-and-done in Edmonton? Or, is the team looking at extending him beyond this season?
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Kane is signed to the Oilers as a pending UFA with a one-year, $1.375m deal in his back pocket. He’s earning every bit of it, having scored 15 goals and 23 points in 27 games since his arrival. He’s meshed well with Connor McDavid and Kailer Yamamoto, he’s brought a physical edge and a shooter’s mentality to the team and he’s not taking long to get acquainted to the city as any fans who were doubtful of his impact on the roster have quickly changed their tunes. As an expiring UFA, the Oilers will need to make a decision about whether they offer an extension, but it won’t be an easy one.
As Kane succeeds, his price goes up. The Oilers, meanwhile, have a number of contracts that require attention. Among them, Yamamoto is a pending RFA and Jesse Puljujarvi is due a new deal as an RFA too. Both will likely get a raise, even if bridge deals are in the short-term future. How much the Oilers can afford to pay Kane is a real issue that will likely be a conversation piece over the summer. If the Oilers get into the playoffs and play well, Kane might be someone the team chooses to prioritize.
Who Should The Oilers Re-Sign?
Potentially, there is a way to get all three forwards re-signed, but it will require some real salary cap juggling and likely a trade or two. It may also mean the Oilers don’t land that top-tier goalie they seem to badly need. If the choice came down to the older, but more proven Kane or losing one of the younger, less expensive forwards in Puljujarvi or Yamamoto, which do the Oilers choose?
Kane could cost $4 million per season times four years, at least. Even that won’t be easy to make work without a sacrifice elsewhere.
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