Cage Match: Evander Kane vs Yanni Gourde

Rick Roos



Part of the beauty of this column is two very different players can be rightfully compared. Take this week’s battle, pitting Evander Kane against Yanni Gourde. Although Kane is a veteran of almost 500 more NHL games than Gourde, the two are almost identical in age and have points outputs since last season which beg for comparison. Which should you pin your hopes on for 2018-19 and beyond? Cage Match is on the case!

Career Path and Contract Status

Kane, 27, was selected fourth overall by the Thrashers (i.e., Jets) and went directly into the NHL for his age 18 season, managing 26 points in 66 games. From there he appeared to be on a fast track to NHL (and fantasy) success, as his points output rose in each of the next two seasons, first to 43 in 72 games then 57 (with 30 goals) in 74 contests. Little did poolies know, however, those 57 points would still be his high in single season scoring as of today. What happened in the interim is a well-documented trail of injuries and unfulfilled expectations. But last season Kane rebounded to the tune of 54 points in 78 games, with 14 of those points coming in 17 games with San Jose, to whom he was dealt at the deadline and with whom he signed in May. Thus far this season he’s run hot and cold but still stood at 15 points in 21 games.

Gourde, who turns 27 in December, was undrafted and went unsigned even after leading the QMJHL in scoring in 2011-12. After toiling for the next two years in the AHL and ECHL, Gourde signed with Tampa Bay in March 2014. For the next two seasons, he played primarily in the AHL, tallying 101 points in 141 games. In 2016-17 it was mainly more of the same, although he did manage to appear in 20 NHL games, scoring eight points but tallying six of those points in his final eight contests. Based on that strong end of season showing he started 2017-18 in the NHL and played well enough to stay with the big club for the entire campaign, finishing with 64 points but with 31 coming in his last 32 games. So far for 2018-19, he’s showing no signs of slowing down, as he’s flirted with a point per game scoring for most of the season thus far.

Kane’s is on year one of a seven-year contract counting $7M per season against the cap, while Gourde will ding the cap at just $1M for 2018-19 before his recently signed six-year deal kicks in and which will carry an annual cap hit of $5.16M.

Ice Time (data in this and the other tables is current through November 18th)


Total Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game

(rank among team’s forwards)