Top Pick Evander Kane Signs With Thrashers

Allen PopelsCorrespondent IJuly 20, 2009

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 26:  Evander Kane poses for a portrait after being picked #4 overall by the Atlanta Thrashers during the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 26, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Thrashers came to terms with forward Evander Kane on Monday to an entry-level deal.  He was the team's first-round selection and fourth overall pick in the 2009 NHL draft.

Kane, 17, played last season for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL where he tallied 48 goals and 96 points in 61 games, good for fourth in the league in scoring.  He also led the WHL with 23 power play goals and was second in the league with 10 game-winning goals.

The Vancouver native, listed at 6-foot 1-inches and 185 pounds, is known for his excellent skating ability to go along with his scoring touch.  The scouting report on him is that he will still need some time to develop, however, so don't expect Kane to make the jump to the big club this fall.  Even still, we have seen in the past few years that a number of top draft picks have made the move to the NHL even though they weren't expected too.

"He's got plenty of time to make it happen," general manager Don Waddell told the AP.  "We like everything about this kid.  He's got a tremendous future ahead of him, and he should only make us better moving the puck."

The Thrashers are in a desperate hunt for playmakers to support Ilya Kovalchuk and prove to their Russian star that they are committed to developing a competitive team.  That is the only chance they have to get him to re-sign with them before he becomes an unrestricted free agent after the 2009-10 season.

Speed is perhaps the most important quality to have in the "new" NHL, and the Thrashers believe they have found a gem in Evander Kane.

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