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NHL - US Sports: What Evander Kane offers to Edmonton Oilers

On announcing his long-term return to the Edmonton Oilers on a four-year, $20.5million deal, forward Evander Kane thanked the franchise for giving him the opportunity to remind people who he was "as a player and a person".

Kane's impact last season was a sensational one and with his future now settled, he will hope to further re-pay the Oilers by helping them achieve their ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

Instant impact

Kane signed a short-term deal with the Oilers in January after the San Jose Sharks terminated the remainder of his seven-year, $49m contract following a fall-out between the player and the organisation.

Thirty-year-old Kane's signature was greeted with much discontent, but he proved all doubters wrong by scoring 39 points (22 goals, 17 assists) in 43 regular season games, before his 13 goals (plus four assists) in 15 games joint-led all players in the playoffs.

Five-on-five producer

Over 13 seasons in the NHL with the Oilers, Sharks, Buffalo Sabres and Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers, Kane has scored a total of 545 points (286 goals, 259 assists) in 812 regular season games.

His goals per 82 game average sits at over 28, with an outstanding 18 (on average) coming whilst five-on-five.

Relationship with McDavid

Kane's relationship with superstar Captain Connor McDavid was immediate and clear to see.

The duo scored 4.3 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five (an equal view of numbers) after his arrival. In comparison, McDavid delivered 2.84 goals per 60 away from Kane.

With McDavid, Kane had 1.43 goals per 60 minutes, and .45 goals per 60 without, suggesting the two will likely be partnered again in the new season.

Built for the playoffs

Standing an imposing 6'2", Kane's game is almost perfectly built for the postseason. Rugged and hard-nosed, but with a good scoring touch, his performances for the Oilers in the playoffs were impressive.

On top of Kane leading the way for goals, line-mate McDavid registered the most points of any player (33; 10 goals, 23 assists) despite playing at least seven games less.

The chemistry of the pair helped the Oilers reach the Western Conference Final, the furthest they have gone since losing the Final in 2006.

Despite being swept by eventual winners the Colorado Avalanche, the reaction to the defeat was generally a positive one, with a sobering note of how much improvement is still needed if they are to win the Cup.

Over-reliance on stars

The Oilers' Leon Draisaitl finished just one point behind McDavid in the playoffs and led the way for assists with 25.

After Draisaitl, McDavid and Kane, Zach Hyman was the next most productive forward in the playoffs, scoring 16 points (11 goals, five assists). Ryan Nugent-Hopkins followed with 14 points (six goals, eight assists).

From then on, the drop-off was stark and is an area General Manager Ken Holland knows he must improve.

The signing of Kane clearly helps the burden on McDavid and Draisaitl, but more needs to be done if the Oilers want to take the crown off the Avalanche, who did an excellent job of suppressing the stars in the four-game sweep.

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Campbell checks in

Bringing back Kane was amongst General Manager Ken Holland's top priorities, but so was finding a number-one goalie.

Forty-year-old Mike Smith couldn't be blamed for the Oilers exit to the Avalanche, but his .872 save-percentage in the series was a disappointment and inferior to Pavel Francouz's .908, who was forced to enter the Conference Final for the Avalanche after regular starter Darcy Kumper was hurt in Game 1.

Not expecting a banged-up Smith to play next season, Holland has signed 30-year-old Jack Campbell on a five-year, $5m contract.

Campbell has been the Toronto Maple Leafs' starter for each of their past two playoff campaigns and despite losing in seven games each year, his performances have been good.

In the 14 games, he has posted a .912 save-percentage and 2.45 goals-against-average.

Earning Trust

First-year coach Jay Woodcroft posted a 26-9-3 record after taking over from Dave Tippett in early February and he was rewarded for his efforts with a three-year deal.

At 45 years old, Woodcroft has already commanded the respect of the locker room, and has put the likes of McDavid, Draisaitl and Kane in positions to succeed.

Having been involved in several headline grabbing controversies over the years, having a coach who Kane respects and vice-versa, will only serve as a positive for the maturing Canadian.

As will the opportunity to continue to play alongside two of the NHL's biggest superstars in McDavid and Draisaitl, giving them an immediate head start on any opposition.

With better goaltending and more production throughout the line-up, Kane certainly has the opportunity to play a key role in the Oilers contending for a championship, a dream he likely thought impossible when he was all but thrown on the scrap heap just a few months ago.

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