Buffalo Sabres could have a 50 goal scorer in Evander Kane

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

In his Sabres pre-season debut, Evander Kane lit the lamp twice. He also had 6 shots on goal and 6 hits. Kane was all over the ice, crushing any opposing player that he could, shooting at any give opportunity, and beating defenseman along the boards. He took more shots than I would have liked when he had open players to pass to, but he could have scored 4 goals. Tyler Ennis and Ryan O'Reilly were on point with their passes and carrying the puck into the zone. 

Kane has the best two forwards he has ever played with on his line in Ennis and O'Reilly. Ennis was insanely good against Ottawa, and O'Reilly was good in the offensive end. Two players that were on Team Canada at the World Championships last year are on Kane's line, and he's the sniper. Kane is the one who's going to be looked to, to score the goals. 

If he stays healthy all year, which is no guarantee considering his history, Evander Kane has the talent and the situation to score 50 goals. That would likely be tops in the league considering that last year the leagues highest goal total was Alex Ovechkin at 53 goals. Steven Stamkos and Rick Nash were the only other players to even reach 40 goals. In his career Kane has 109 goals in 361games. Thats under a goal per three games played. For him to reach 50 he would need to do better than a goal every other game. 

If he continues taking around 5 or 6 shots a game, Kane can reach 50. His career shooting percentage is about 9%. If he gets 5 shots a game and keeps at his 9%, he can hit 50. Getting 5 shots a game is a tall task in itself. The only players to average 5 shots a game in the NHL last season was Alex Ovechkin with exactly 5 shots a game. Next closest was Tyler Seguin with 3.9 shots per game. Kane has averaged about 4 shots a game for his career, and just 3.4 shots per game last season. However, last year he played more of a 3rd line role. 

Kane, Ennis, and O'Reilly are all above average possession players, so that line will have the puck more often than not. For his career, the two forwards Kane has played with the most are Bryan Little and Alexander Burmistrov. Andrew Ladd, who is arguably the Jets best forward, only played with Kane for 34 minutes since Kane entered the league. For comparison, Maxim Afinogenov has played with Kane for 44 minutes. Kane managed to put up 30 goal pace seasons on three separate occasions with those players on his lines. He was never on the top line. 

Kane is just about to enter what is the prime of most players careers, he has an improved situation, and he is currently healthy. For Evander Kane to realistically reach close to 50 goals, everything has to go absolutely perfect for him. He has to play a full season, he needs both of his teammates to play at a near all-star level, and he needs to put the puck in the net. 

A better question might be can Evander Kane ever score 50 goals? In today's NHL it is tough. Kane possesses an elite scoring ability, that has yet to reach its potential. For Sabres fans sake, lets hope he gets there.