CHICAGO — The Sharks placed Evander Kane on waivers Sunday, likely spelling the end of the gifted-yet-troubled forward’s tumultuous tenure with the NHL team.
The other 31 NHL teams now have until 11 a.m. (PT) on Monday to claim Kane and add him to their roster. If Kane clears waivers, which he likely will, he will be assigned the Barracuda of the AHL.
Sharks assistant general manager Joe Will said Sunday it is his expectation that Kane, assuming he clears, will join the Barracuda for its practice on Tuesday.
Kane’s 21-game suspension for violating the NHL/NHLPA’s COVID protocol ends Monday. Kane, 30, was under two investigations prior to the start of the regular season, including one that probed allegations of physical and sexual abuse that were made in court documents by his estranged wife, Anna.
The NHL on Oct. 18 announced it could not substantiate allegations of abuse, but suspended Kane for a quarter of the season for a violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocol. Kane has been skating on his own of late but has not practiced with the NHL team since the start of the team’s training camp in September.
Kane said in a statement after the suspension was announced that he “made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for,” adding that “When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”
The Sharks’ decision, first reported by this news organization, came hours are the team was set to play the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday at the United Center, the first game of a five-game road trip.
Kane is in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49 million contract that he signed with the Sharks in May 2018. The deal carries an average annual value of $7 million. Kane is still owed over $20 million in salary, and another team would take on that entire cap hit and owe him that money if they claim him.
If Kane clears waivers, the Sharks would get $1.125 million in salary cap relief.
A report in The Athletic surfaced this summer that friction had built up between Kane and his teammates throughout the 2020-2021 season, to the point where some Sharks players expressed to management that they no longer wanted Kane on the team. Their frustration stemmed from Kane’s perceived overall lax attitude toward team rules, including being late for practices and games.
Kane in September told ESPN that he didn’t “necessarily know or believe that that’s true.” Regardless, the relationship between the Sharks and Kane had been fractured, perhaps beyond repair.
The Barracuda is slated to practice again on Wednesday and Thursday before a scheduled game Friday in Abbotsford, B.C. That area, though, has been affected by severe flooding and it is unclear if the game will be played.
Will added that Kane may not be ready to play in that game as he continues to improve his conditioning.
Please check back with updates to this developing story.