How Knoblauch plans to utilize Kane’s potential in Oilers’ lineup?


The Edmonton Oilers are enjoying a remarkable run of form, winning nine consecutive games and climbing up the Pacific Division standings. However, one player who has not been able to contribute much to the team’s success is Evander Kane, the veteran winger who signed a four-year, $20.4 million contract with the Oilers in the offseason.


Kane’s diminished role and production

Kane was one of the Oilers’ best players in the first 15 games of the season, scoring 11 goals and adding 10 assists. He was playing on the top line with Connor McDavid and Zack Hyman and also on the first power-play unit. However, an injury sidelined him for six games in November, and since his return, he has been relegated to the third line with Derek Ryan and Connor Brown. He has also lost his spot on the power play and the penalty kill, and his ice time has dropped significantly.

In his last 16 games, Kane has only three goals and one assist and has been held scoreless in 13 of them. He has also posted a minus-3 rating and has taken only 28 shots on goal. His average ice time in that span is 14:55, down from 19:23 in the first 15 games. His season low was 13:23 in Chicago on Tuesday, where he was a minus-2 and had no shots on goal.

Knoblauch’s dilemma and solution

Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch is well aware of Kane’s situation and is looking for ways to get him more involved and productive. He admitted that Kane is “underused” right now and that he needs to find a better fit for him in the lineup.

“With the lines, unfortunately, it hasn’t been a match with the situations he’s been in,” Knoblauch said. “The lines are working. (We’re) winning. His ice time is down a little bit, considering he’s on the second power play and they don’t get much time, and he’s not killing (penalties) anymore. And now he’s on line three.”

Knoblauch said he is not ready to break up the top two lines, which have been clicking lately. McDavid, Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have combined for 24 points in the last nine games, while Leon Draisaitl, Ryan McLeod, and Warren Foegele have added 23 points. However, he hinted that he might try Kane on the second line with Draisaitl and McLeod and move Foegele to the third line with Ryan and Brown.

“I think that’s something that we’re going to look at,” Knoblauch said. “I think that would be a good opportunity for Kane to get some more ice time and play with some skilled players.”

Kane’s optimism and motivation

Despite his reduced role and slump, Kane said he is not frustrated and is happy for the team’s success. He said he is confident in his abilities and is ready to contribute whenever he gets the chance.

“I’m not getting the same opportunity as I did in the first part of the season. But that’s OK. I’m a team guy. I want to win. That’s why I came here,” Kane said. “I know what I can do. I know I can score goals. I know I can play in any situation. I just have to stay positive, work hard, and wait for my opportunity.”

Kane said he is fully recovered from his injury and is feeling good physically. He also said he is motivated by the challenge of proving himself and helping the Oilers achieve their goals.

“I love challenges. I love proving people wrong. I love being a difference-maker,” Kane said. “I think we have a great team here. We have a great chance to do something special. I want to be a part of that. I want to help this team win the Stanley Cup.”

The Oilers will face the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday, where Kane will hope to end his scoring drought and show his value to the team. The game will be broadcast on Hockey Night in Canada at 7 p.m. ET.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts