Saturday, 7 February 2015

Evander Kane for Zack Kassian: Should the Jets and Canucks swap their troubled wingers?

With Zack Kassian burning a hole in their pocket, I wonder if the Canucks can flip a healthy big winger to the Jets for their ailing one?

The Jets would be relieved to put an end to the saga.  They are desperate to stay in the playoff race. Zack Kassian is a big body who fits in well with their team philosophy, and could pitch in and try to fill the big hole at forward caused by Evander Kane’s absence. Zack could be rejuvenated in a new environment, maybe start to play as he was projected to when the Sabres took him in the first round.

It might be a tough pill to swallow for the Canucks, to give up an asset for no immediate help while they’re themselves in a playoff race against these very Jets, but in the long term adding Evander Kane to their roster next fall would tick off so many checkboxes, with his speed that fits in well with the team makeup, and his scoring that would go a long-way to re-establish their balanced scoring identity. A line of Kane-Bonino-Burrows would bring a tonne of speed and give opposing defencemen fits. On top of that, he’d bring size and toughness, which the Canucks need, and which Zack Kassian didn’t reliably supply, taking undisciplined penalties one game, then disappearing for five. Evander Kane would have a chance to be a hometown hero, and maybe a lot of the discipline issues dissipate with the change of scenery.

Even in those terms, I don’t think the Jets would accept this trade even up, the Canucks would have to chip in some sweeteners, maybe a prospect/pick. But the backbone of the trade is there, it makes intuitive sense. It’s a little bit like when the Canucks acquired Roberto Luongo, they had a big piece to swap in Todd Bertuzzi that they needed to move anyway. So many other teams would create a hole in their lineup to acquire these guys, here both teams would be able to salvage something out of the mess they’re in with this trade.  They're both like tourists about to leave a foreign country: they hold currency that they need to spend now.

But this idea just may be crazy enough to work. Both teams get to move on from a player who has been a headache and unhappy and needing a change. Both end a soap opera. Both teams get what they’ve given up, a big winger with offensive skills, so there is less of a sting.

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