The Evander Kane era is underway in Edmonton.
The 30-year-old left-winger was introduced to Edmonton media today, flanked by GM Ken Holland and coach Dave Tippett. Kane will make his Oilers debut on Saturday against Montreal after skating in Vancouver over the past few weeks since officially being let go by the San Jose Sharks for what the team deemed as violations of COVID-19 protocols while in the AHL.
On the ice, it's a big addition to a team that desperately needs scoring. Kane led the Sharks with 49 points in 56 games last year for one of the best seasons of his career.
But most of the attention surrounding Kane surrounds his off-ice profile.
The tenure in San Jose was filled with reports of teammates allegedly not wanting him back for the season while building tons of animosity in the locker room. The dressing room strife was something that Kane tried to downplay the best he can.
"I understand the narrative and it's easy to look at me just because the storylines have always been that I've been the disruptive one or whatnot," Kane said. "To say that I didn't get along with everyone in the locker room would be just incredibly false. Less than a handful of guys, but it goes both ways, when leaks are coming from the dressing room and the media I wouldn't say that's necessarily good active leadership or being a productive teammate."
With the deal now official, it has come with an immense amount of blowback from social media. Many fans have expressed their anger against the move, with some threatening to cancel their season tickets.
Kane wants fans to have an open mind on the deal and see what he can do for the team and city of Edmonton.
"I would encourage them to be open-minded and 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," Kane said.
Holland said he did his homework and felt that Kane could be a positive influence.
"My message to the fans would be that, you know, I've done my due diligence, I've talked a lot of people, and as Evander said he's been involved in communities of the teams that he's been within the past," Holland said. "Certainly, we're trying to win, trying to be a more competitive team, it's a move to make our team better.
"I believe there's another opportunity here that could be a positive experience for all of us, for the fans, for Evander, for the Edmonton Oilers".