The Winnipeg Jets announced today that Evander Kane will be out until early February with an undisclosed lower body injury.
The injury to Kane appears to have been sustained when he blocked a shot with his foot on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild. With the loss of Kane, an already struggling Jets offense will need to find a way to put pucks in the net if they hope to keep pace in the Central Division.
While some may look at Kane’s numbers – six goals, 15 points in 26 games – and think they don’t seem miraculous by any means, he’s been a big part of Winnipeg’s ability to move the puck up ice and get pressure on the opponents goal. That ability, one that isn’t seen on the scoresheet, is a big reason why Winnipeg has been as surprising as they have been this season, and losing him for such a long period of time is bound to have an effect.
Of all forwards on the Jets, only one player, Mark Scheifele, starts more shifts in the defensive zone while facing tougher competition. Scheifele is also the only forward other than Kane that has driven play better under those same conditions.
What makes the injury to Kane even worse for the Jets is that the 23-year-old winger was due to start putting up more points at any moment. Though he had only six goals, his 7 percent shooting percentage was the lowest of his career and bound to regress back to a number where more pucks were going in for Kane.
Add to that an on-ice shooting percentage (4.84 percent) that was one of the worst on the Jets, a number that was surely due to swing upwards, and you have a massive loss for a team that’s 23rd in goals per game.
The Jets will have to make due without Kane now, who adds to an injured list that will make many in Winnipeg weep. The Jets have answered since losing many of their defensive stars, but with Kane out, they’ll be tasked with finding a way to put pucks in the net if they have any hopes of staying in the Central Division race.