About this time last week, Winnipeg Jets’ forward Evander Kane signed a contract to play in the KHL for Dinamo Minsk. One of the NHL’s brightest young forwards will look to take his game to a whole new level… sort of.
Kane has already established himself as one of the up-and-coming "superstar" forwards in the NHL. Kane’s hockey sense, awareness, size, strength, goal scoring ability and ability to drive the net make him one of the NHL’s best power forwards, with a little added dose of sniper. Kane is progressing nicely and is developing into that superstar forward.
However, the only thing that could stall a player’s progression is not playing at all. This is especially dreadful for a young player who's continuing to grow and progress at the highest level. And not playing at all is what happened when the NHL decided to lock out their season. For Kane, it was time to find a new home in a new league until the NHL came to an agreement.
That’s when the KHL became an option.
The difference in talent is massive between the NHL and KHL, but the KHL does have plenty of skilled players, which arguably makes it the second-best league behind the NHL. But the primary worry for Kane and many other young players in the same position was to just find a place to play during the lockout.
Kane is playing hockey and that is probably the most important achievement during the whole lockout fiasco, because playing hockey is better than playing nothing. What Kane does in game with his new club is all relative, but I’m sure playing in the KHL will be a great experience for him and will certainly give him the much-needed playing time.
Remember, when Kane was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2009, he made the NHL immediately. He never developed in the juniors as a junior, instead, was thrown right into NHL action. The KHL should be a good test for him to develop his game further although there shouldn't be much concern with statistics and how he produces.
After two games with his new club, Kane’s made himself known off the score sheet. He’s playing rough and tough, and even got a 10-minute misconduct for a cross-check in his second game with Dinamo. Unfortunately for Kane and Dinamo, they lost both games.