Heading into the 2009 NHL entry draft, the top North American ranked skaters were John Tavares and Matt Duchene. As it turns out, these two and the top-ranked European skater (Victor Hedman) occupied the first three picks in the draft. At number four overall, the Atlanta Thrashers would select Vancouver native Evander Kane. Kane had just wrapped up a 96-point performance in 61 games for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL and would turn pro the very next season.
In his first 66 NHL games, Kane notched 26 points and 62 penalty minutes. Up until this point, Kane had never skated for a team outside of Vancouver and the adjustment was harsh. Atlanta wasn't exactly a hockey hotbed, evidenced by the organization's relocation to Winnipeg and the fact that the organization was still selling season tickets one hour before the announcement.
Although only 6'2" and 190 lbs., Kane was the type of player who had sandpaper in his game. He would drive the net hard, drop the gloves if necessary, and most importantly, bury his chances. In his second NHL season, Kane skated for 73 games, and was just one goal short of breaking the 20-goal barrier. Kane's 43 points on the season marked a significant step forward from the previous year.
At age 20, Kane's franchise would relocate to Canada. Excitement would fill the locker room and the players instantly became re-energized. After starting the season on a line with Burmistrov and Antropov, Kane would eventually be switched to a line with a struggling Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler. The move proved to be effective with instant chemistry. The line has been Winnipeg's most productive. In fact, the top three most productive lines all feature Evander Kane.