The troubled Evander Kane is going to get a chance to redeem himself in the National Hockey League this season.
In a season that’s included off-ice concerns related to gambling and domestic violence, along with a suspension for a fake vaccine card and a contract termination in San Jose after Kane reportedly violated the AHL’s COVID protocols during the Christmas break, the market for the now free agent wing is considered robust.
But would it include the Bruins?
One of the teams to scout Kane in-person during his AHL stint with the Barracuda, the Bruins at one point considered Kane as a possibility for their team. And it’s more than fair to wonder if the Bruins would have a greater interest now that adding Kane does not include adding his (brutal) San Jose contract to your books and/or parting with something of value from your organization. Especially if Bruins general manager Don Sweeney believes in second chances.
“I think everybody [and] all 32 teams would do their due diligence as to where they stand on any particular player, second chances, and how they fit in the culture and we’re no different in that regard,” Sweeney, trying his best to avoid a direct answer to a question that mentioned Kane specifically, said. “Obviously some of those things are at the ownership level and trickling down to present what you think [and how] you’re trying to improve your team and then every player is different. But I think we all have to do what’s right for the organization and make a decision and move forward.”
Reading into what Sweeney says when it comes to external roster moves is always a fun game. (The man has absolutely mastered the art of saying a lot of words without saying much of anything. Call it the Opposite Bruce Cassidy Move.) But, by Sweeney standards, there would appear to be a bit of meat on that bone as it relates to the Bruins and Kane.
It’s entirely possible that the Bruins entered their in-person scouting lukewarm on Kane and that either his performance and/or subsequent trouble cooled them off. It’s also possible that the Bruins had an interest but were denied by the powers that be due to Kane’s off-ice issues (not sure why else the ‘ownership level’ would be mentioned).
Or it’s possible that the Bruins are indeed investigating how someone like Kane could help their team.
Which, if we’re being honest, a committed Kane could certainly do. The Bruins are going to at some point trade Jake DeBrusk. Nick Foligno suffered a brutal-looking injury in Tampa Bay last weekend, and Trent Frederic left Monday’s win in Washington with an apparent body. That’s a lot of potential movement at left wing. Slotting Kane in as your team’s third-line left wing — and with some serious star power above him — would be an undeniable upgrade. The Bruins could also use Kane’s ability to finish around the high-danger areas of the ice, especially down the stretch.
Kane is looking for his second chance (or fresh start, or whatever you wanna call this) after a 2021 season that included 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games, too. (Over a normal 82-game season, that pace would’ve set Kane up for a career-best 32 goals and 72 points.) Overall, the 30-year-old has hit the 20-goal mark seven times in his NHL career.
The Bruins also have that reputation throughout the NHL as possessing one of the best locker rooms in hockey. They only added to that this past offseason with the addition of former Columbus captain Nick Foligno. It really does feel that if there was one room to get Kane to ‘buy in’ and get himself right, it would be the one at TD Garden.
And if there’s a talent like Kane to be had — and for what’s most likely pennies on the dollar — you simply gotta call.
“I don’t think a general manager’s doing their job if we don’t investigate every opportunity,” Sweeney admitted.
So it’s really just a matter of whether or not Sweeney’s job is finished or just starting on the Kane front.