Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets negotiating John Tavares-like contract

Hey, remember how Evander Kane was an "unhappy Jet" who drew criticism in Winnipeg, including tall tales about him skipping out on restaurant bills?

Remember how all of this culminated in a June RDS bombshell that the standout winger didn't want to negotiate a long-term extension in the 'Peg?

Why, this does not sound like a restricted free agent who would enter into a six-year contract extension with the Winnipeg Jets! Save for the fact that, according to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press, that's what Kane and the Jets are looking to do:

Contracts signed by New York Islanders sniper John Tavares and Toronto Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel are being used as examples. Both players signed long-term packages coming out of their entry level contracts, Tavares a six-year deal worth $33 million and Kessel a five-year pact worth $27 million.

If for some reason, and at this point that seems highly unlikely, the negotiations turn to a shorter bridge-type contract, Kane's deal could be along the lines of the two-year pacts signed by James Neal and Logan Couture worth $5.75 million following the expiration of their entry level deals.

So what's Kane worth?

Kane, 20, made a $900,000 base salary in his rookie contract, with bonuses increasing that number to $3.1 million against the cap. He was taken fourth overall in 2009, three spots behind Tavares.

Matt Duchene, taken by the Colorado Avalanche at No. 3, just signed a 2-year deal with a $3.5 million cap hit — a "show me" contract for a player trying to reestablish himself as a pillar of the franchise.

Kane has no such bar to clear before earning a long-term commitment from his team.

He hit the 30-goal mark in his first season in Winnipeg, after posting 33 in 139 games with the Atlanta Thrashers. His physical game improved, and he shot the puck more often (good things happen, kids).

As Arctic Ice Hockey noted, Kane could be on the same track as Phil Kessel statistically — will he follow him monetarily as well? After his breakout year with the Boston Bruins, Kessel earned a deal with a $5.4 million cap hit. Tavares earned a $5.5 million his on his 6-year deal. So ... $5.45 million for Kane?

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