NHL.com examines how Evander Kane's seven-year contract with the San Jose Sharks impacts his fantasy stock. See how he was utilized in 2017-18 and what to expect from him in 2018-19:
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When left wing Evander Kane was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 26, it solidified the San Jose Sharks' top-six forward group that was without center Joe Thornton (injured Jan. 23 against the Winnipeg Jets). Kane formed instant chemistry with forward Joe Pavelski and the duo spent the majority of time playing together on the top line and first power-play unit. Kane saw an uptick in his offensive production from the Sabres (.65 points per game) to the Sharks (.82). He finished the regular season with 14 points (nine goals, five assists) in 17 games and had five points (four goals, one assist) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Sharks.
The most-encouraging number for Kane's fantasy stock was his shot volume. After being acquired by San Jose, Kane amassed 80 shots on goal from Feb. 26-April 9, which ranked first on the team and sixth in the NHL behind fantasy stars Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado Avalanche), Tyler Seguin (Dallas Stars), David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins), Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals) and Patric Hornqvist (Pittsburgh Penguins). It remains unknown if Kane will have the same spot in the Sharks lineup next season but his impressive shot totals are reason enough to increase his season-long fantasy stock and make him a must-target player night in and night out in DraftKings DFS contests.
Video: VGK@SJS, Gm3: Kane goes top shelf on Fleury
Kane, 26, will play a prominent role on the Sharks top power-play unit with defenseman Brent Burns, who is among the most-valuable fantasy defensemen for 2018-19, according to NHL.com. Kane did not have a power-play point in his 17 regular-season games with the Sharks but did have 14 power-play shots (T-1st with Burns) and led all Sharks forwards with 3:06 per game on the power play. The Vancouver, British Columbia, native was also given every opportunity to succeed at even strength, leading the forward group with 16:33 per game.
One of the more underrated parts of Kane's game is physical play. After he was acquired, the left wing (6-foot-2, 212 pounds) led all Sharks forwards in hits (39) and all Sharks skaters in penalty minutes (25). Kane will be one of the most sought after players in season-long fantasy leagues that count hits and PIMs.
It's clear that the Sharks see Kane as a valuable utility player who can play at all strengths, generate offense and swing momentum with his physical style of play. Potential fantasy owners should take note of his prominent role and raise his draft stock accordingly. Kane will look to eclipse the 30-goal mark for the second time in his NHL career (2011-12 season, 30 with the Winnipeg Jets). The 2009 first-round pick (No. 4) has the size, skill and usage to surpass fantasy expectations in his first full season with the Sharks.
Projection: 72 games played, 34 goals*, 28 assists*, 62 points*
Draft range in 12-team fantasy league: Rounds 4 or 5 (picks 37-60)
*Would be NHL career-highs