NHL Trade Speculation: Evander Kane's Behavior Worth It for Winnipeg Jets?

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2013

UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 05:  Evander Kane #9 of the Winnipeg Jets skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 5, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Jets 5-4.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Evander Kane has all the skills needed to become one of the top stars in the NHL.

Kane, 21, is coming off his first season as a 30-goal scorer with the Winnipeg Jets. He has the size and strength at 6'2" and 195 pounds to establish himself as a presence down low while also having the skating skills and agility to blow by defenders and unleash his hard shot.

Since Kane has improved each of his three seasons, he would appear to be a cornerstone member of the Jets franchise.

Kane will be one of the team's leaders as it tries to establish itself as a playoff contender, right?

Not so fast.

Kane is starting to turn off a lot of would-be supporters in Winnipeg.

Winnipeg Free Press columnist Gary Lawless is among those irritated by Kane's attitude and activities.

Among Kane's transgressions was going to the KHL during the lockout, reporting to Dinamo Minsk out of shape and basically going through the motions while he was playing. His stay in the KHL lasted 12 games before he left, per Yahoo!.

Then, he took a trip to Las Vegas during the middle of the lockout and tweeted out a picture of himself holding stacks of cash from the balcony of his hotel room.

There's a certain immaturity to Kane's personality that may not make him the ideal go-to guy on the Jets.

So far, Kane has been insensitive and immature. Those are not major transgressions. But Kane is stubborn and doesn't always necessarily go about his business the way a professional is supposed to.

For example, teammates have had to get on his case for not taking road trips seriously enough. A road trip is a business trip in the NHL. However, Kane took his girlfriend on the road, and that didn't sit well because it indicated that winning and playing hard may not be his priorities.

Kane's reaction to criticism is to shrug it off or issue a pressure-induced apology (source: nbcsports.com). He doesn't take it to heart or make changes.

None of these issues are criminal. If the Jets organization is annoyed, they are keeping it to themselves. The Jets signed Kane to a six-year, $31.5 million contract during the offseason. They obviously believe in Kane's talent.

Trading Kane is really not an alternative at this point for the Jets, despite Lawless's annoyance. Kane has not attacked a cab driver or photographed in an inebriated state like Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks (h/t Deadspin). He has merely engaged in some selfish and insensitive behavior.

Despite Lawless's harsh tone, Kane is capable of learning from his mistakes. He is young and he is not destined to repeat his mistakes for years and years.

Trading him would be counterproductive to winning hockey games.

However, if his antisocial behavior accelerates, then the Jets would seriously have to consider seeing what they could get from a player who has a chance to be an All-Star for years to come.