Chances are the name Evander Kane is one that brings with it fear: he scored eight points against the Panthers last season in four matchups, with two of his points coming on the powerplay (he also had a 23.8 shooting percentage against the Cats), which was a huge increase from his totals with Atlanta (only two career points against Florida).
Kane isn't just a guy who can score on Florida though, he's a player that can score on anyone. His overall goal total went from 19 in 2010-11, to 30 last season (0.26 goals per game to 0.41), and he just turned 21 on August 2nd. The good news for Florida? His current restricted free agent status.
Read on after the jump to see why Florida should offer-sheet the Jets' leading goal scorer.
1. He's only 21 and coming off a career season
The fourth overall pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kane's GVT last season was 12.8, which was better than Capitals sniper Alex Ovechkin (by 0.1), and the best on the entire Jets roster. It was also superior to top UFAs Alexander Semin and Shane Doan. The new Vukota projections have Kane finishing in the top 30 in GVT, and his PDO does suggest that last season was not a fluke.
Last season Kane averaged 15:56 minutes at even strength and 2:11 on the powerplay. He scored 3.39 points per 60 minutes on the man advantage (1.50 powerplay goals per per 60 minutes) and led the Jets in even strength points per 60 minutes with 2.42 (1.26 goals per 60 minutes). It's not a stretch to suggest he can score 40 goals in the next two seasons (or probably even one).
2. He can do more than score
Last season Kane drew an average of 1.5 penalties a game, the year before 1.2. With the Panthers finishing in the top ten of powerplay efficiency, the Cats could benefit from Kane's ability to draw penalties (as well as his obvious offensive gifts) to create more scoring chances and improve their near league-bottom goals scored from 2011-12.
3. Florida can handle the price
In order to steal Kane away from Winnipeg, the Panthers are likely going to have to overpay. He reportedly wants somewhere in the neighborhood of John Tavares money ($5,500,000), but offering him that might do the Jets a favor. As learned from the Shea Weber offer sheet, the Panthers are going to have front-load the deal in order to make the small market Jets not want to match.
If the Panthers do give Kane that type of coin, the compensation would be four first round picks. Florida is ranked by both Hockey Prospectus and Hockey's Future as having the best farm system in hockey, thanks not only to the five first round picks Florida drafted in recent years, but to the depth selected in later rounds. And if the Panthers don't want to part with the picks, they could always trade for Kane's rights.
If the Cats do go the offer-sheet route, how many of those selections do you think will be lottery picks, and do you believe that those picks will have the potential and offensive ability that Kane has?
4. Either way it hurts Winnipeg
If the Panthers get Kane, the Jets lose one of their best up-and-coming players, likely the pinnacle of their system. If Winnipeg does match, they will have overpaid for another one of their young players, which would hurt long-term since they remain what is typically described as a small-market team.
5. He splits up the scoring threats for Florida
With Kane on the Florida roster, coach Kevin Dineen has five (six with a healthy Peter Mueller) proven top-six forwards (Huberdeau is of course not yet an NHL-proven forward) to play, giving him tremendous options up front, thus avoiding a few of the criticisms his club faced early a year ago.