In a surprising development, the San Jose Sharks placed Evander Kane on unconditional waivers with the intention to terminate his contract on Saturday.
Sharks waive Evander Kane to terminate contract; more steps to come
If no other NHL team claims Evander Kane on waivers and the contract termination goes through, the Sharks would remove Kane’s cap hit, which is $7 million per year through 2024-25. Cap Friendly notes that Kane would forfeit $22.885M. Before that move, Kane’s contract was “buried” in the AHL, still carrying a $5.875M cap charge.
In their statement regarding terminating Kane’s contract, the Sharks claim a “violation of the AHL COVID-19 protocols.” The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz is among those who report that the AHL COVID violation may stem from Kane allegedly traveling to Vancouver while COVID positive:
The Sharks’ Evander Kane contract termination stems primarily from him traveling to Vancouver while COVID positive, according to multiple sources.
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) January 8, 2022
At the moment, it sounds like the NHLPA is figuring out what to do next.
From the NHLPA on Evander Kane: "Regarding the announcement from the Sharks today, we are looking into this matter."
— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) January 8, 2022
Multiple sources told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that the NHLPA is “absolutely expected” to file a grievance on Evander Kane’s part to prevent that contract termination.
It’s not yet clear if Evander Kane can sign with a different NHL team while a grievance is being handled with the Sharks. Cap Friendly indicates that it’s possible, and highlights a March 21 deadline for when Kane can sign with a team and suit up for playoff games.
It's also worth noting that this does not preclude Kane from signing a new contract with another club.
Once he clears waivers Kane will be a UFA free to sign with any club he chooses, and if he signs a new contract before Mar 21 he will also be eligible to play in the playoffs. https://t.co/leHRAa8FUM
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) January 8, 2022
[More on that 21-game suspension]
This comes after the NHL suspended Evander Kane for 21 games for allegedly using a fake vaccination card. (For what it’s worth, the NHL announced that it “could not substantiate” other claims against Kane, including that he allegedly gambled on games.)
That NHL suspension ran through Nov. 30. After that, the 30-year-old cleared waivers and then played five games for the Sharks AHL affiliate (the San Jose Barracuda). Kane entered AHL COVID protocol in late December.
Clearly, there are more steps to come for the Sharks, Evander Kane, and the NHL. The first step is Kane actually clearing waivers, which is likely to be confirmed by Sunday afternoon.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.