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Kane ponders six-year, $29-M deal from Jets

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Just 24 players in the NHL scored more goals than Evander Kane last season and the Winnipeg Jets have placed a premium value on his services, offering him a rich and long-term contract.

Kane and his representatives are mulling over a six-year deal in the neighbourhood of $29 million as negotiations between the two sides have ramped up.

It's swap-proposal time in the Kane talks and unless someone digs in their heels, an agreement should be reached. Talks to this point have been productive with both sides proving to be creative and flexible in order to get an agreement that works for everyone.

Kane is just shy of his 21st birthday and notched 30 goals and 27 assists for 57 points last season. The chance for financial security a deal like this provides can't be ignored. Any agent will tell you that kind of money can't be passed up by a player so young.

Generational money has to be snatched when available.

For the Jets, this puts their most promising prospect in the stable for a long time. If Kane continues to develop and grow, they could have a 50-goal man in the near future.

Kane is brash and at times stubborn but he craves superstardom and wants to be among the league's best. He has the talent and will to be elite. No one should be surprised if he turns out to be a consistent all-star.

The Jets must protect and guard him for as long as they can.

There will be a day when Kane is free to test the open market and there's a good chance he'll be very expensive. Putting that day off for as long as possible only makes sense.

This deal goes a long way to protecting the future, which is key to the philosophy among Jets management.

The Kane deal confirms and is in line with Winnipeg's strategy. Develop their own players and lock them up long term at the cusp of their prime.

The next 12 months will see more and more of this as GM Kevin Cheveldayoff attempts to get Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Zach Bogosian and Toby Enstrom in similar deals.

For Jets fans, the prospect of having already committed to Andrew Ladd and Ondrej Pavelec, as well as Kane and the rest of this group all inked to four- or five-year deals, should provide smiles. If these players continue to grow and improve, Cheveldayoff will have some kind of hockey team on his hands in two or three years.

Patience has already proven a strength among Jets management even if it's confounding to fans at times. But the payoff shouldn't be that far down the road if Cheveldayoff can stick to the plan and execute.

Kane is another of these stepping stones for Cheveldayoff, but momentum appears to be building in Winnipeg's favour. Players like to be part of something when they can see progress and commitment from management.

Same goes for the folks in the seats.

Getting Kane done long-term sends a message to the ticket-buying public but it also reverberates within the dressing room.

It's fine to talk about the future but sooner or later it has to arrive. A long-term Kane contract gets the Jets one large step closer. Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2012 D1

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.


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