In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, Evander Kane and his estranged wife, Anna, have dropped their domestic violence restraining orders against each other. Meanwhile, there was more discussion surrounding the Sharks possibly voiding his contract. In other news, Tomas Hertl has spoken once again about his future with the team and the excitement surrounding their success early on in 2021-22. There was also a trade this past week, as Dylan Gambrell was sent to the Ottawa Senators for a 2022 seventh-round draft selection. Last but not least, William Eklund is approaching 10 games played, meaning the team will need to make a decision on whether or not to keep him for the entirety of the season very soon.
Evander Kane’s Current Situation
After some very ugly accusations came public throughout the summer between Kane and his estranged wife Anna, things appear to be getting a little less messy between the two. According to The Mercury News, the two have withdrawn their domestic violence restraining orders and are instead focusing on other issues at hand related to their pending divorce, such as custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and attorney fees. (from ‘Curtis Pashelka: Suspended Sharks forward Kane, estranged wife drop domestic violence restraining orders against each other’, The Mercury News 10/26/21).
It has been a bad year for Kane, who has had many controversies involving his name, many of which were self-inflicted. Hopefully, this is the start of him turning things around. If it is, perhaps he is able to get his playing career back on track once he is finished his current 21 game suspension handed down for violating COVID-19 protocols.
Hertl Happy with Sharks Start
Much was made this offseason regarding the future of Hertl with the Sharks. The 27-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and was reportedly looking to move on as he was upset with the way things were going with the organization. However, when training camp began, things had seemed to change, and he sounded much more optimistic about signing a potential extension. He expressed that same optimism once again chatting with the media about his situation this past week (from ‘Kevin Kurz: Sharks’ Tomas Hertl’ls long-term future, William Eklund’s short-term future both hazy’, The Athletic, 10/24/21).
“Yeah, for sure,” Hertl said when asking if a better team culture would improve his chances at re-signing. “I say many times (San Jose) is my home, and I love to play here… End of the day, we have to find a way (for) me and Doug to talk (about) the deal, too, because I don’t know what he’s thinking, I know he wants me to stay, but you want to be always fair for both sides.
“When we get time, we will for sure talk and I’ll be looking to be here but I don’t know his ideas and stuff. But now, I’m just looking to play hockey and be the best player I can for my team.”
In six games so far on the season, Hertl has scored two goals and added a helper. He will be in line for a raise from his current deal which carries an average annual value of $5.625 million.
Gambrell Traded to Senators
After failing to make the roster out of training camp this season, the Sharks chose to trade Gambrell to the Senators in exchange for a seventh-round pick at the 2022 draft. The 25-year-old suited up for 49 games with the Sharks in 2020-21, scoring five goals and 12 points. He also played in 50 games with the club a season prior and has 110 career NHL games under his belt, all of which have come with San Jose.
Given that the Senators are still in a rebuild, acquiring Gambrell and his $1.1 million cap hit makes plenty of sense. Though he hasn’t shown it yet in the NHL, he has proven that he can pile up points in the American Hockey League. Perhaps a change of scenery is all it will take for him to begin to showcase his skill at the highest level.
Decision Coming on Eklund
The Sharks will very soon need to decide what they want to do with Eklund. The seventh-overall pick from the 2021 draft has looked very good early into the 2021-22 season with three assists in five games. However, if they choose to keep him after he plays in his ninth game, it will automatically burn a year off of his entry-level contract. If they chose to re-assign him prior to his 10 games, he would head back to the Swedish Hockey League for the remainder of the season.
While some may be quite stressed out with the future of their season in limbo, Eklund appears to be cool and collected about it all.
“No, I haven’t really thought of that,” he said about the upcoming decision. “Just playing to stay the whole season, that’s my goal.”
Whether or not the Sharks decide to keep him remains to be seen, but it may be difficult to part with him given the team success early on. Despite most projecting them to struggle in 2021-22, they have gotten off to a very solid start with a 4-2-0 record through six games. That is good enough for third in the Pacific Division currently. They will look to further improve on their record Thursday night when they take on the struggling Montreal Canadiens.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Oil On Whyte, NHLtradetalk.com, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.