Oilers Can Only Hope Sharks Get Bit In Evander Kane Arbitration Case

According to multiple reports, including TSN’s Darren Dreger, Evander Kane’s grievance hearing regarding his contract with the San Jose Sharks is taking place Tuesday and the hearing is set to determine whether Kane will be awarded any of the outstanding $22 million and change he was owed by the Sharks when they terminated his contract earlier this season.

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There’s a precedent for a player getting paid some of the outstanding monies owed in a case like this as Mike Richards successfully got 50% of his outstanding salary spread out over 15 years when the Los Angeles Kings terminated his deal. Of course, much of that depends on what the arbitrator decides, based almost exclusively on why the contract was terminated in the first place.

Sources noted that Kane was placed on unconditional waivers once he breached his player contract by traveling to Vancouver while in the AHL’s COVID-19 protocol. He was also handed a 21-game suspension for violating the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol (alleged to be the use of a fake vaccination card).

This Ruling Could Greatly Affect Kane’s Long-Term Plans

If Kane is successful here, it could shape his plans, both in the short term and long term. On Jan. 27, he signed a prorated one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers when his suspension was finalized, after a run with the San Jose Barracuda, and after he officially became a UFA. It was a “show-me” deal — worth $1.375 million with the Oilers — that was meant to get him in a good spot where he could be productive and potentially make himself attractive to teams this coming offseason. Essentially, it was Kane’s last chance to stay in the NHL.

Evander Kane Edmonton Oilers
Evander Kane, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

What’s happened since joining the Oilers has been all that the team and the player could have hoped for. He’s meshed well and found instant chemistry with the team’s top stars, he’s got 16 goals and 31 points in 37 games and there are already whispers the Oilers are prioritizing him when it comes to this summer and getting a few key deals done.

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If Kane gets the money (or at least some) he believes he’s owed, he could be more option to being flexible on an extension.

This Could Be Big For Oilers

The Oilers want to keep Kane in the fold. They know, if he’s got no money coming in and he’s looking for what could be the last big deal in his NHL career, he’ll likely want around $5 million per season over at least four seasons. It would be hard to blame Kane if he stuck to his guns on that ask based both on the season he’s having and the outlook of his future earnings. The Oilers may not be able to afford to give that to him if they want to keep players like Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, and Ryan McLeod, plus go out and get an upgrade in goal.

Evander Kane Edmonton Oilers
Evander Kane, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While the amount he might win — and how it’s spread out should he win — won’t make him rich tomorrow, if Kane is awarded even half of the outstanding contract from the Sharks and spread out over 10 years, he’ll be getting an extra $1 million per season and not from whatever team signs him. That’s huge when it comes to helping the Oilers and Kane get an extension done, assuming both sides want that.

It’s the long-term security of knowing that money is coming in that could help dictate how firm Kane is during negotiations with GM Ken Holland. Without it, Holland has to play off of Kane’s desire to stick with Connor McDavid, have a chance to win, or simply pay full price for the player.

The Oilers have to be hoping the Sharks get stuck with a bill here. Should they, not only does it help the Oilers, but the Sharks will be on the hook for a cap penalty. Considering San Jose is in the same division as Edmonton, that wouldn’t be the worst thing either.

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