CHICAGO — Is there trade interest in Evander Kane?
“An Eastern Conference team has shown considerable interest in dealing for Evander Kane,” New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported on Saturday.
Brooks stressed that the New York Rangers, who the San Jose Sharks will play on Dec. 3, are not the team in question.
Brooks’s report comes as some surprise. Kane’s myriad of off-the-ice issues have dominated headlines since the summer, and while he’s still a very productive skater, the 30-year-old is also signed for four more years and $28 million dollars.
So good player, but big contract and bigger headache.
Elliotte Friedman did report earlier this week that the Sharks would be willing to retain salary, perhaps as much as the maximum 50 percent allowed, to expedite a move.
Up to this point, the general consensus, even with San Jose Hockey Now’s sources, was that a trade would be unlikely, barring the willingness of the San Jose Sharks to add first-round picks to sweeten the Kane pot.
There’s no reason to believe that acting GM Joe Will would now be willing to part with potential lottery picks. Is there a team really willing to trade for Kane for just salary retainment? Or for that and lesser-than-first picks?
“It’s hard to believe, but it wouldn’t surprise me,” an Eastern Conference source told me. “Nothing does anymore.”
It’s also possible that a team could be looking to offload a bad contract for Kane.
So which Eastern Conference team is interested in Kane right now? It may still be none — teams and agents have been known to try to drum up interest in their players by planting stories — though I’m not necessarily saying that’s the case here.
One obvious suspect is the Carolina Hurricanes.
“They love taking bad apples,” a team executive shared with SJHN. “[Dundon] doesn’t care.”
During the summer, they signed UFA Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $1 million dollar contract, despite the defenseman’s history with disciplinary issues, locker room problems, and controversial political leanings.
In all fairness, that’s the only “bad” apple that they’ve picked up recently. Acquiring Kane though would certainly constitute a trend.
How about culture-strong teams like Tampa Bay, Washington, or Pittsburgh?
For the Lightning, Kane might represent relatively-inexpensive depth scoring for a locker room that’s coming off two Stanley Cups.
For the Capitals and the Penguins, Kane would be dwarfed by true superstars like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby who should command his instant respect.
Speaking of another superstar, how about Joe Thornton in Florida? Kane and Thornton were thought to have a positive relationship when both were with the Sharks — and while Thornton remains close to the same San Jose teammates who have ostracized Kane — perhaps Jumbo still has time for Kane?
Anyway, this is all purely speculative.
In my mind, it makes no sense for a team to commit to Kane for this season and three more years, even at a reduced rate, when they can potentially have him at a bargain basement UFA price and term in the off-season. That’s if the San Jose Sharks buy Kane out then.
But anyway, it’s the latest twist in another day of “As Evander Kane Turns.”
Kane is eligible to come off his 21-game suspension for violating the NHL’s COVID protocols on Nov. 30. There’s no expectation that he will re-join the Sharks at that point.
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