Evander Kane, a talented left wing whose actions forced the San Jose Sharks to waive him earlier this month, has potentially found a new home. The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly expected to sign the 30-year-old.
The Sharks waived Kane with the intent to terminate the rest of his seven-year, $49 million deal on Jan. 8 for breaching the NHL standard player contract and violating the AHL's COVID-19 protocols. An NHL investigation into Kane's violations began shortly after, and the league cleared Kane on Thursday. Kane was playing for the AHL's San Jose Barracuda at the time after serving another suspension, this one 21 games, for submitting a fake vaccine card to the NHL.
Kane cleared unconditional waivers on Jan. 9, allowing any team to sign him. Edmonton looks to be that team, and his new teammates seem to be all for the move.
"He's a big, strong power forward that's hard to play against," defenseman Duncan Keith said earlier this month, per The Athletic. "Any time you add a player like that, a good player, you'd be excited by that if that's going to happen. We'd be happy to have him and excited to have him join the group and help us out."
"If he's a part of our team it's going to be exciting to have a player like that," forward Zach Hyman said.
The NHL investigated whether Kane, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21 and landed on the Barracuda's virus protocols a day later, traveled to Vancouver on Dec. 29 without proper medical clearance. On Thursday, the league concluded it had "insufficient evidence" to prove Kane knowingly misrepresented his vaccination status and declined to suspend him.
Kane's alleged protocol violation is the latest of numerous controversial situations he's found himself in. This year alone, the 12-year veteran missed the Sharks' training camp as the NHL investigated whether he falsified his COVID-19 vaccination status; and Anna Kane, Evander's estranged wife, accused him of gambling on NHL games along with physical and sexual abuse.
NHL investigations, however, failed to verify Anna Kane's accusations. She filed a restraining order against Evander Kane last September.
If the signing goes as planned, Kane would join an Edmonton team currently sitting 11th in the Western Conference at 20-16-2. Kane is coming off a 2020-21 season in which he scored 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) over 56 games.
While Kane is set to sign a new contract, the NHLPA is still attempting to return the money he lost on his last one. The NHLPA has filed a grievance against San Jose for terminating Kane's contract.