Evander Kane is skating in San Jose right now, but if the Sharks have their way, he won’t be there for long.
“One of the things that I have heard is that the Sharks have let it be known that if somebody is interested, they would retain, if a deal could be worked out,” Elliotte Friedman said this morning on the Jeff Marek Show.
Kane has four years and $28 million dollars left on his contract, signed with the San Jose Sharks in the summer of 2018.
The scandal-ridden winger is eligible to return from his 21-game suspension for violating the NHL’s COVID protocol on Nov. 30.
“I don’t know who’s going to trade for him right now,” Friedman acknowledged. “I just don’t know where that is at this particular point of time or even if that’s realistic.”
Kane led the Sharks with 22 goals and 49 points last season, but he followed that with a whirlwind summer of controversy. That, coupled with his long-term contract, explains his negative trade value.
In June, reports began to surface that Kane’s San Jose Sharks teammates were disenchanted with his flouting of team rules. In July, estranged wife Anna Kane accused Evander Kane of gambling on NHL games. A day before the beginning of training camp, Anna Kane said that he had beat her. A week into camp — Kane and the Sharks agreed that he wouldn’t participate — we learned that the NHL was investigating Kane for attempting to submit a fake vaccination card. Last month, the league suspended Kane for 21 games for unspecified COVID protocol violations.
Through it all — Kane was cleared of gambling on NHL games, Anna Kane’s allegations of domestic abuse could not be substantiated by a league investigation — his San Jose Sharks teammates have been notable in their unwillingness to offer any real amount of public support for the embattled winger.
As a further illustration of this, Tomas Hertl said yesterday, about Kane’s return to Sharks Ice, albeit apart from his teammates: “I didn’t talk to him. I don’t know anybody who saw him or talked to him. Honestly, I don’t know what the next step is.”
But as much social distancing as the San Jose Sharks have practiced with Kane for the last few months, ultimately, they might be stuck with him.
My guess is that another team could take a look at taking on half of Kane’s retaining contract — the maximum that San Jose can retain is 50 percent — but only if the Sharks also attach at least one first-round pick, if not more, to sweeten the pot. And there’s no reason to believe that’s a price that GM Doug Wilson would be willing to pay.
“My theory is he will end up in the American Hockey League on a conditioning stint. And then we’ll kind of see where it goes from there,” Friedman said. “But that’s only a theory. I’m not reporting that in any way, shape, or form.”
Sending Kane to the minors, of course, is only kicking the can down the road. It also opens another Pandora’s box of questions: Would Kane even report to the AHL? He’s actually never played there, as he went straight from juniors to the NHL as a teenager after being drafted fourth-overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2009.
And would the Sharks want to risk exposing their AHL prospects to a potentially disruptive locker room force like Kane?
Kick the can down the road as much as you want, Nov. 30 is fast approaching — whatever the next step is with Kane, it’s got to be taken soon.
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