I, like many others, have no doubts that Evander Kane will remain with the Winnipeg Jets for a very long time. However, he remains an RFA, and the situation continues to drag week-by-week with little talk or updates between both parties.
My only concern from this situation is the fact that it has taken this long for both sides to come to terms. Maybe it's more curiosity than concern, but the whole ordeal is interesting to say the least.
It's mid-August, and the Jets are still negotiating with their top forward. Rumors and reports broke about a week ago that Kane was offered a six-year, $29 million contract according to the Winnipeg Free Press. If so, why hasn't he accepted yet?
Would it not be wise for Kane to take the proposed deal? The length of the rumored deal seems perfect and the terms seem more than fair. Money can't be the issue that's holding Kane back from signing on the dotted line.
Kane isn't the only top-notch RFA forward awaiting to come to terms this offseason. Dallas Stars budding superstar Jamie Benn is another RFA awaiting a new deal. Much like Kane, Benn is being counted on to be the leader of the Stars for years to come. And much like Kane, Benn is a very good player with potential to become great in this league.
Kane and Benn may get similar deals, but one contract that both of theirs could be based off of is recently re-signed Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes. According to ESPN, Skinner recently signed a six-year, $34.35 million contract extension—an average annual value of $5.725 per year.
As far as discussions go between Kane and the Jets, maybe money is a slight issue after all. With Skinner making an AAV of $5.725, maybe Kane wants to make over $5 million per year as well. Even so, I can't imagine money being the sole reason for negotiations to go on this long.
Maybe, just maybe, there isn't a need to rush. Maybe Kane's enjoying a nice and long summer vacation and is just waiting until September to sign the new deal. Or maybe it doesn't even matter, with the NHL's current CBA set to expire in September.
Really, it does matter, but maybe it's what's delaying the process in general.
Negotiations continue between the NHL and the NHLPA in hopes for a new deal by September 15th. However, no new CBA will mean another lockout. Whether this has an affect on Kane and his own contract negotiations is unknown.
Kane is the Jets' top priority, and a deal will get done eventually, regardless of the terms. Patience is hard to come by when the top forward remains unsigned. And in the midst of a potential lockout, folks will get riled up if Kane isn't signed by then.
Season or not, Kane will be a Jet in 2012-13 and many years to come. When Kane does eventually come to terms, I'm sure fans will want to see that presser to hear firsthand from Kane on why the process took so long. It's only a matter of time.