The San Jose Sharks appear to be between a rock and a hard place with Evander Kane.
Earlier today, The Athletic reported that “several key players informed team brass that if Kane was going to be a part of the Sharks going forward, they didn’t want to be.” The Mercury News has corroborated the “essence” of The Athletic’s story.
Teammates were unhappy with Kane’s “general disrespect for team rules, including routinely being late for games and practices, not adhering to the dress code and having poor practice habits.”
Reportedly, Kane nearly got into a fight with assistant coach Rocky Thompson over the winger’s positioning on the power play.
Of course, this toxicity is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Kane. In January, he declared bankruptcy and got the San Jose Sharks sued in the process. Last month, soon-to-be ex-wife Anna Kane accused him of gambling on Sharks games, allegations that the NHL is currently investigating. This, on top of his troubling history with women and well-documented locker room issues in Buffalo and Winnipeg.
Kane also is in the middle of a long, expensive contract, a nightmare of GM Doug Wilson’s making: He’s got four years at $7 million dollars AAV left.
So where does that leave Wilson and the San Jose Sharks?
The Sharks could attempt to terminate Kane’s contract, but that isn’t likely to be penalty-free for the club unless the league finds that the winger has gambled on NHL games. Barring that, San Jose could find other grounds to terminate the contract, but that might involve a Mike Richards-like settlement in the end, which will cost the Sharks plenty. The Los Angeles Kings are paying Richards until 2032 — every dollar against the cap.
The off-season’s second buyout window was an option — San Jose had 48 hours after signing Adin Hill to buy out another player — but that window has passed.
So what about a trade? Kane was the San Jose Sharks’ Team MVP last year, and he’s one of the league’s premier power forwards. He can skate, he can fight, and he can score — a rare combination these days.
Now there’s a good, good chance that regardless of Kane’s on-the-ice prowess, the off-the-ice baggage will make him virtually untradeable. It’s been reported that Wilson has already offered Kane around the league to no takers. But surveying some league sources this afternoon, there was more interest in Kane than I expected.
Which teams might take a swing at Kane? What sweeteners might the San Jose Sharks have to add to a Kane trade?
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