It was down to the wire, and well into the evening on Saturday, when the Winnipeg Jets announced they had come to terms on a new contract with forward Evander Kane.
"It's bittersweet," said Kane in a conference call Saturday. "You want to play hockey but at the same I'm kind of on Cloud 9.
"Playing this last year in Winnipeg, in Canada, the spotlight's on you, the fans are behind you and there's no better feeling than having that," he said. "For me, to get a deal done, even though it took to the very last minute of a deadline, is great for myself and Winnipeg and like I said, I know I'm really excited about playing and I think that we're going to have a successful future here in Winnipeg."
Last season, Kane topped pretty much every career best stat in the books. He played in 74 games with the Winnipeg Jets, scored 30 goals, added 27 assists, and four game-winning goals. He ranked ninth in the league with 287 shots and first on the Jets roster in goals. The steady incline in his numbers over the last three years doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
General Manager, Kevin Cheveldayoff was pleased that even though the negotiations began over two months ago, that he’s found a way at the last minute to secure a strong young player for many years to come.
“He’s an exciting young player who has the ability to score goals, coupled with the ability to play a pretty physical game,” said Cheveldayoff in a conference call Saturday. “That is a very good combination, when you have a player that has the abilities to do that along with his skating abilities at the age he’s at, we think there is tremendous potential and room for growth.”
Kane was the fourth overall pick by the Atlanta Thrashers at the 2009 NHL Draft. He has played in 213 career NHL games between Atlanta and Winnipeg stockpiling 126 career points (63G, 63A) and 183 penalty minutes.
“I think I’ve gotten better and better every year I’ve played in the league and I don’t see that changing,” said Kane. “I don’t like putting numbers on what’s going to happen but I can tell you one thing, I haven’t made the playoffs in three years so that’s probably the first thing on my list.”
The 21- year old Vancouver, BC native has already got a great start in establishing his identity in the National Hockey League, but still has his entire career to look forward to and the next six seasons will be spent with the Winnipeg Jets.
“Evander is a very young player still, a lot of players at his age are just breaking into the league and to have him locked up at the prime of his career and we’re really excited about that.”