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What do Sharks do with Evander Kane when suspension is over?

November 25, 2021, 6:37 PM ET [3 Comments]
Kevin Allen
Blogger •HHOF Writer's column on the NHL • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Even if the San Jose Sharks paid a chunk of Evander Kane’s salary, they won’t be able to trade him.

That seems to be the prevailing wisdom around the NHL. Kane simply has too much history of being a disruptive element in the dressing room. After Kane’s September drama, there was a report of San Jose players not wanting him on the team any longer.

The NHL suspended Kane 21 games for faking his vaccination card. That suspension ends Nov. 30. The Sharks have to decide their next step soon.

Kane apologized for lying about being vaccinated and has pledged to seek help for his gambling issue. But his history of creating problems is long and varied.

A contender might be intrigued by Kane’s array of talents: Over the past six seasons, Kane has roughly averaged 24 goals and 100 penalty minutes per season.

But a contender also has to wonder what Kane might do next. What would Kane’s impact be on team chemistry? Even if the Sharks chip in cash to rid themselves of Kane, acquiring him requires financial risk.

Kane’s salary cap hit is $7 million for this season and three more. If the Sharks paid $2 million of his salary per season, the hit is still $5 million.

Most quality teams don’t have cap space for that level of acquisition.

And don’t think for a minute that teams haven’t noticed that the Sharks have played improved hockey without Kane on the roster.

It may come down to the Sharks sending Kane to the minors and then buying him out next summer. It’s either that, or give him another chance. With the Sharks sporting a better-than-expected 10-8-1 record, could they even consider that possibility? Can’t see it.

Other Thursday thoughts and notes in this abbreviated Thanksgiving offering:

2. Minnesota right wing Ryan Hartman is a feel-good story on this holiday. He’s leading the Wild with 10 goals in 19 games. Hartman is an eight-year veteran who usually chips in 10 or 12 goals in a season. This is about opportunity, taking advantage of an opportunity, and receiving more opportunities.

3. Still, plenty of rumbling about the Bruins possibly moving Jake DeBrusk. Boston Hockey Now has discussed a Ryan Strome-for-DeBrusk deal with the Rangers.

4. The Detroit Red Wings have $14.3 million in cap space. Expect GM Steve Yzerman will offer to take on salaries to facilitate trades for other teams. Of course, he will demand a nice return and isn’t going to take on any long-term salaries.

5. Should the Minnesota Wild be poking around the goalie market? They still rank 27th (.902) in team save percentage. They are down there with the Seattle Kraken, Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes and the Carey Price-less Montreal Canadiens. It should be noted that starter Cam Talbot is at .909, which is just below the league average. Backup Kaapo Kahkonen is at .870. That may be the issue. It’s still early, but it is a situation worth monitoring.

6. With the Blackhawks playing better, Marc-Andre Fleury has pushed his save percentage up to .912. That’s noteworthy considering what a mess the Blackhawks were at the beginning of the season. It still seems like he would be a great fit for the Edmonton Oilers. But it seems likely other teams could be involved.

7. Seven teams in the Metropolitan Division have a winning percentage of .556 and above and the Covid-infested, injury-plagued Islanders are at .375. Still plenty of time for the Islanders to recover. But GM Lou Lamoriello has to make a deal for a defenseman. The Islanders have a -19 goal-differential.

8. Jonatan Berggren, another blue-chip Detroit Red Wings’ prospect, has six goals and 12 points in 15 games for Grand Rapids (Mich.) in the American Hockey League. He should get a call-up at some point. Rookie Joe Veleno was injured Wednesday night against St. Louis. If his injury forces him to miss several games, the Red Wings could consider Berggren or Chase Pearson.

9. The Vancouver Canucks (6-12-2) are playing, behaving and talking like a team waiting for something to happen. They are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. Normally, I would think the Canucks would wait until after the season to fire GM Jim Benning. But the shake-up may need to come now because this team needs to have a lightning bolt thrown in their direction. This team has plenty of young talent. The Canucks need to get this team moving in the right direction as soon as posslbe.

10. Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Hockeybuzz readers. After 47 years in this business, I’m thankful to still have a place to practice my craft. Thanks to all who read my work. Be well everyone. Have a joyous day.
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