Evander Kane on past disruptions, future with Oilers: 'I view myself as a leader'

The NHL’s most controversial player has found a new home, as Evander Kane and the Edmonton Oilers officially agreed to a one-year deal.

On Friday, the Oilers held a press conference that featured Kane, as well as head coach Dave Tippett and general manager Ken Holland. Whether or not his answers were the proper ones depends on who you ask, as there are varying opinions from many hockey fans on social media.

Addressing Oilers fans who may not be too pleased about his signing, Kane asked for a chance to "do what I do best."

New Oilers forward Evander Kane spoke to reporters on Friday. (CP Images)
New Oilers forward Evander Kane spoke to reporters on Friday. (The Canadian Press)

"I would encourage them to be open-minded, to allow me to do what I do best and get to know me on the ice, off the ice, around the rink, in the community and see what I bring to the table," said Kane. "Every city I've been in, I've always worked in the community and done what I can to help make that city and that community a better place. And that's gonna be no different here in Edmonton."

The last city Kane was in — more specifically its team — became one of the main talking points of his conference.

When asked about reports over the summer that his San Jose Sharks teammates didn’t want him back for the 2021-22 season, Kane's response was rather disappointing.

He first denied the fact that he had bad relationships with everyone in that dressing room, and then seemed to blame the Sharks leadership group for that story getting leaked to the media.

"I view myself as a leader," Kane added. "It's funny, people think I'm going to come in and I'm just some kid on a playground that's going to disrupt everything, and that's just not the case."

As the saying goes, where there’s smoke there’s fire, and it applies perfectly here, as Kane, throughout many of his issues in his career, has failed to take much, if any, accountability. Though some stories may very well be exaggerated or not reported correctly, it seems very unlikely that plenty of the issues surrounding him aren’t due to his own actions.

Kane, 30, is extremely talented, though his ability to do more good than bad to a team has been highly debated given his off-ice issues. Most recently, Kane had his contract terminated by the Sharks due to an alleged breach of COVID protocol. The league concluded its investigation on the matter stating that there wasn't sufficient evidence that the Vancouver native had broken any rules, which opened up his path to joining Edmonton.

The forward had previously been suspended 21 games and demoted to the AHL for submitting a fake vaccination card.

Regardless of anyone’s thoughts on whether or not he should have been given another chance in the NHL, it is impossible to ignore the fact that he will bring plenty to this Oilers lineup. He checks a ton of boxes for them, as he is a scoring winger who provides toughness and physicality, things that Edmonton is greatly missing.

With this deal being just a one-year commitment, it is possible it works out well for Edmonton and gets it back into a playoff position. However, there is a ton of risk that comes with it as well.

What's clear is that this Oilers brass believes that in the short-term, Kane will be beneficial for them.

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