MONTREAL — NHL Central Scouting’s Blair MacDonald sums up Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane, the third-ranked North American skater heading into tomorrow’s 2009 NHL Entry Draft at Bell Centre, like this:
“He has power forward qualities from the blue line in. He’s the type of player who doesn’t like being denied access to the net. You can almost see when he’s got the puck he’s going to the net and defying people to stop him. He’ll be a 200-pound forward in the National Hockey League. He plays like he’s 6-2, 6-3, bigger than his size. He’s surprised a lot of people with his strength going to the net.”
Does the currently 6-foot-1, 176-pound sound like someone? How about Boston Bruins 6-3, 228-pound winger Milan Lucic, Kane’s former captain and mentor with the ’07 Memorial Cup-winning Giants club?
“I think when I was 15, I was fortunate enough to play a handful of games in the regular season and play in the playoffs and the Memorial Cup. Learning from a guy like that, you can’t exchange that,” explained Kane today after the top prospects luncheon. “He’s so well-respected with the team and I really looked up to him as a leader and as a player. The road he took to make it to the NHL, that was unbelievable. No one expected that from a 19-year-old with (19) points in his draft year. So talking to a guy like that and getting advice from him and him wishing me luck in the World Juniors and whatnot definitely was a boost. He’s a great guy.”
For reasons only the scouts can explain, Lucic fell down the draft board to the Bruins at No. 50 in June 2006. At this rate, if Kane falls at all he’s still looking at a top-six or top-seven selection. That would make his ascension straight to the NHL less than a surprise than Lucic’s, but making that leap wouldn’t be any less impressive.
“I think for him it was all about hard work. We grew up actually pretty close to one another, in the same area. I’m hoping to do that or do better than that. I think it’s something to look forward,” said Kane, who noted that he interviewed numerous times with Atlanta (fourth) and Los Angeles (fifth).