When Evander Kane hit the market back in January, Alex Ovechkin was watching closely. Ultimately, he picked up the phone to call the UFA and try to get him to sign with the Washington Capitals.
Kane was fresh off a buyout from the San Jose Sharks after facing several allegations and breaking COVID-19 protocols. However, his ability and high production, as well as his impact as a top-line winger, made him a sought-after player on the market.
In the end, Kane was reportedly down to the Capitals and Edmonton Oilers. That’s when the Great 8 dialed 31-year-old and tried to steer him toward the District with Washington needing more firepower and depth on the wing and middle-6.
When asked why he called Kane in an interview with MatchTV, Ovechkin had an easy explanation.
“Because we have a chance to win another Stanley Cup. Why miss it?” he said. “It’s clear that you can talk about anything. but everything [comes down to] the desire of the player himself.”
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Kane ultimately chose to sign with the Oilers, where he felt he had the best chance to win while playing alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. In the final 43 games of the regular season, the forward dished 22 goals and 17 assists for 39 points in 43 games. He then added 13 goals and four assists for 17 points in 15 playoff games to help Edmonton reach the Western Conference Final. The Oilers were ultimately swept at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche.
Looking back, Ovechkin hasn’t dwelled on that situation and thinks that the Capitals made some strong moves this offseason to upgrade the team.
“We signed real hard workers who have NHL and national experience,” Ovechkin added. “We signed a goalie [Darcy Kuemper] who just won the Stanley Cup with Colorado. Let’s see what happens next. The most important thing now is to approach the season in good shape. And during the season, it’s rallying with an eye on the playoffs.”