Forward Evander Kane, as expected, cleared the waiver on Monday and was set to be assigned to the Sharks’ AHL minor league affiliate, the first step in what further hopes will be an eventual return to the NHL.
Kane is expected to join Barracuda for practice at Sharks Ice on Tuesday morning and will be with the team indefinitely. Kane’s 21-game suspension for violating the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol officially ended after the Sharks’ game on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, a 2-0 San Jose win.
Instead of paying Kane to stay at home after his suspension ends, the Sharks opt to hand Kane over to the AHL to help him grow and increase his value in the business market.
The Sharks’ road trip continues with a game against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
Kane, 30, hasn’t played since losing to Vegas on May 12 in their 2020-2021 regular-season finale, hasn’t practiced with the Sharks during camp while he was under NHL investigation and has been under NHL scrutiny for the past six years. -Plus was out of the week as he served his suspension.
“Evander looks forward to restarting his NHL career this season,” Kane’s agent Dan Milstein said in a statement on Sunday.
Kane was the Sharks’ leading scorer last season with 49 points in 56 games, but his contract has a pay-cap hit of $7 million for each of the next three seasons, possibly one of the main factors the NHL team took. Why didn’t they claim exemption?
However, the Sharks will reportedly be willing to retain some of Kane’s salary to help facilitate a deal. Kane’s contract has a modified no-trade clause in which he will only accept one trade for three other teams, but he could potentially widen that list to increase the Sharks’ trading options. Teams are allowed to retain up to 50 percent of the player’s average annual salary.
For now, Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will said he wants Kane to settle at Barracuda.
“If he wants to see (expanding his three-team list), he can certainly bring it to us,” Will said on Sunday. “But for now, our focus is on taking him to Barracuda by Tuesday.”
Kane may be closely monitored once he joins Barracuda.
Kane will be the oldest player on the team, as all except four are under the age of 25, with nine players being 21 or younger. A report this summer in The Athletic indicated that Kane had an overall lackadaisical attitude towards the team’s rules and practices, as well as a confrontation with then-associate coach Rocky Thompson last season.
Will noted that Kane already had a relationship with Barracuda coach Roy Sommer, who served as an associate coach on Bob Boffner’s staff from December 2019 to April 2020, when Pete DeBoer and three assistant coaches were hired. Was fired by GM Doug Wilson.
Somer, a native of Oakland, is in his 24th season as coach of the Sharks’ AHL affiliate and is the league’s all-time winning coach.
“There’s a very strong lead with Barracuda. Roy has been around longer than anyone,” Will said. “Roy knows Evander, he has known the whole organization since being an associate head coach a few seasons ago. Roy has been with many, many players, more than any other coach I know.
“He’s dealt with a lot of things in his career. So, he’s aware of that too, and I trust the environment.”
It is unclear when Kane will play his first match with Barracuda. The team is scheduled to play in Abbotsford, BC on Saturday and Sunday, but may need more time to adapt to its normal level. The Abbotsford area, too, has experienced severe flooding this month and roads are closed in the area, potentially affecting the situation at this weekend’s Games.
After this weekend, Barracuda are scheduled to play at Stockton on 7 December, followed by home games with Abbotsford on 11 and 12 December.
pay attention: Shark winger Andrew Cogliano has left a road trip to turn to a private matter. Cogliano has five points from 20 matches this season.