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Bill Daly on Why Sharks-Kane Don’t Find New Arbitrator, Potential Settlement



Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Could the San Jose Sharks and Evander Kane be headed toward a settlement?

That’s what Frank Seravalli suggested at the Daily Faceoff today.

In January, the Sharks terminated the remainder of Evander Kane’s contract, a seven-year, $49 million dollar agreement that was supposed to expire at the end of the 2024-25 season. The NHLPA immediately filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf.

In April, the NHLPA’s grievance was heard by independent arbitrator Shyam Das. A second hearing date was supposed to take place after Kane’s playoff run with the Edmonton Oilers, and a ruling was expected before the beginning of free agency on Jul. 13.

That timing was key, as it would let the Sharks know if they were free and clear of Kane’s $7 million AAV over the next three years and let Kane’s camp know if he was a UFA or back on San Jose’s roster.

Instead, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly disclosed yesterday that there was a snag, that Das would not be available to hear the second day of the grievance for the entire month of June: “We’re currently in discussions with the Players’ Association as to what all that means in terms of Evander’s status. If it goes to the second day of hearings and we wait for a decision from the arbitrator, which will be a written award, my guess is that will be past the date of free agency.”

More Questions Than Answers With Kane Grievance Right Now

Daly told San Jose Hockey Now in an e-mail today that the NHL and NHLPA are moving forward with Das instead of seeking a new arbitrator: “The parties agreed to use Das for a variety of reasons, none of which are particularly relevant to where we find ourselves.

“Not sure re-starting the whole grievance before a different arbitrator makes a whole lot of sense. We have already had a full one-day hearing before Arbitrator Das.”

The NHLPA echoed that point in an e-mail to SJHN: “We don’t have anything to add other than as Bill Daly stated yesterday, we are in the process of scheduling a second hearing date with the arbitrator.”

This would seemingly leave both the San Jose Sharks and Evander Kane in precarious situations.

“Our position is it’s a valid termination and he’s a free agent,” Daly told Seravalli. “But that doesn’t mean that situation might not be reversed, in effect, by an arbitrator – saying he has a valid contract and still has a valid contract.”

So at the moment, the Sharks are clear of Kane’s original contract and the winger is able to re-sign with Edmonton – but that would be superseded if Kane wins his grievance – he would be returned to San Jose.

That’s awkward to think about right now, but imagine if that happens after Jul. 13, and the Sharks have committed cap space to other free agents, and the Oilers or another team has committed to ersatz UFA Kane?

It’s worth noting that NHL teams can go 10 percent over the $82.5 million dollar salary cap in the off-season. But regardless…

“All of which makes it even more likely now that Kane and the Sharks will come to some type of settlement agreement,” Seravalli wrote. “For both sides, some money and some cap hit is better than all or nothing. Then add in the time crunch and the clarity that both parties will gain ahead of free agency and it makes it a slam dunk.”

Daly disclosed to the Daily Faceoff, however, that there have been no settlement talks between the San Jose Sharks and Evander Kane: “I don’t want to raise the specter that they’re in settlement discussions, because quite frankly, I think it’s the opposite. But that doesn’t mean it can’t change. I’m suggesting [settlement] is certainly a possibility – it is in every grievance process.”

The deputy commissioner added, of Kane: “His position is his contract with San Jose should be reinstated in full, which would clearly supersede any contract he might sign as a free agent. So those two results can’t co-exist, right?”

Up to now, San Jose Hockey Now has heard no talk of settlement, but perhaps yesterday’s news will force both sides to the bargaining table.

SJHN reached out to Kane’s agent Dan Milstein, who declined comment.

So what might a settlement look like? We speculated on that months ago, if it takes after the Mike Richards-Los Angeles Kings settlement:

Which Teams Might Trade for Kane? | SJHN+

Essentially, the Sharks could agree to pay Kane an amount matching or slightly higher than what he would’ve made in a buyout, but spread out over a greater number of years than a typical buyout. Kane could make more money on top of that as a UFA on Jul. 13.

Another possibility, that SJHN has been raising for months, is that Kane becomes a UFA on Jul. 13, with the Sharks responsible for the difference between what he makes as a UFA and his original $7 million AAV. Just for example, let’s say Edmonton signs Kane to a three-year, $15 million dollar contract ($5 million AAV), San Jose would be on the hook for just $2 million AAV per year.

UPDATED: Why Might Kane’s Playoff Success Be Good for Sharks?

Those are just two possibilities of many.

We’re about two weeks away from the beginning of the Jul. 1 buyout period and a month away from Jul. 13 free agency. Will the San Jose Sharks and Evander Kane find some common ground before then?

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