Sharks News & Rumors: Kane, Wilson, Kniazev & More

In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over the termination of his contract took place today, though it remains unclear at this time when proceedings will end. In other news, a ceremony that was supposed to take place this Saturday to honour former general manager Doug Wilson on his Hall of Fame induction has been postponed. Flipping over to the hockey side of things, prospect Artemi Kniazev is said to be progressing well in his first season as a pro with the San Jose Barracuda. Last but not least, the Sharks announced on Tuesday afternoon that they had signed free agent goaltender Strauss Mann to a one-year deal.

Kane’s Grievance Hearing Underway

Immediately after the Sharks terminated Kane’s contract in early January, the NHLPA filed a grievance on behalf of the 30-year-old. While it took some time to take off, the hearing is officially underway as of Tuesday morning. According to The Athletic, it is not clear when proceedings will end, but a decision will not come today (from ‘Oilers’ Evander Kane begins grievance hearing over Sharks contract in New York City: Source,’ The Athletic, 04/19/22).

Evander Kane San Jose Sharks
Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kane, who played in parts of four seasons with the Sharks, had his contract terminated due to failure to follow COVID-19 protocols while playing for the Barracuda. Shortly after that happened, he agreed to a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers and has fit in very well with his new club, scoring 16 goals and 31 points through 37 games thus far.

Wilson’s Hall of Fame Ceremony Postponed

This past November, Wilson received a well-deserved honour as he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 64-year-old had an outstanding career that saw him play his final two seasons with the Sharks. In 1024 career games, he put up 237 goals and 827 points, numbers that are extremely impressive for anyone, let alone a defenceman.

Related: Sharks Looking to Contend With a New General Manager

As everyone reading this knows, after his playing career came to an end, he went on to become the general manager of the Sharks, a position he was hired for back in May of 2003. Unfortunately, he was forced to step down recently due to health issues, which means a ceremony meant to congratulate him this Saturday, Apr. 23, has been postponed. (from ‘Curtis Pashelka: Sharks postpone weekend ceremony honoring former GM Doug Wilson’, The Reporter, 04/19/22).

The good news is that the ceremony is expected to happen next season, as the belief is Wilson will be able to attend it in person. From the sounds of things, he is progressing in his recovery from an unknown health issue. Expect the organization to announce at some point this summer when a ceremony to recognize his fantastic playing career will take place.

Kniazev Rounding Out Game With Barracuda

Back at the 2019 draft, the Sharks chose to select Kniazev with their second-round pick (48th overall). In doing so, they were taking an offensive-minded defenceman who had just completed his rookie season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He went on to play two more seasons in the OHL before turning pro for the 2021-22 campaign.

Artemi Kniazev San Jose Sharks Draft
Artemi Kniazev, San Jose Sharks, 2019 NHL Draft (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A quick look at his stats would make it seem like he is having a rough go of things at the professional level, but according to his head coach Roy Sommer, that isn’t the case.

“He’s still got a long ways to go before he’s going to be an NHLer, but I think he’s trending in the right direction,” Sommer said. “He’s picking up points. He’s running our first power play, which has been pretty productive all season long.

“I think he’s made big strides. He’s playing a lot more comfortable, playing with confidence right now.”

To this point, Kniazev has appeared in 57 games with the Barracuda. As Sommer said, he is producing, as he has 26 points on the season. What stands out to many, however, is the fact that he has a plus/minus rating of -46 on the year. While that may seem worrisome, that likely reflects more on his team than his play personally, as the Barracuda are currently the worst team in the American Hockey League with a record of 20-39-6. As the team improves next season, expect his plus/minus to pick up as well.

Mann Signs One Year Deal

On Tuesday afternoon, the Sharks announced that they and Mann had agreed to terms on a one-year contract. The 23-year-old spent this past season in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) after failing to latch on with an NHL club after his college career. In 22 games this season with Skelleftea, he recorded a solid 2.19 goals-against average (GAA) along with a .914 save percentage (SV%).

“Strauss is a quick, athletic goalie with [a] history of leadership and success exemplified by being named the first goalie Captain at the University of Michigan in 78 years,” said Sharks supervisor of European scouting Shin Larsson. “He followed his successful collegiate career with a strong season for Skelleftea in the SHL and represented Team USA at the most recent Olympics. We look forward to adding a quality goaltending and person to our organization.”

As mentioned by Larsson, Mann was able to play for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics. In two games at the tournament, he compiled an extremely impressive 1.85 GAA along with a .945 SV%. While that is a small sample size, he was very good for Skelleftea in his first season as a pro and had a number of great seasons for the University of Michigan. This is a very low-risk, high-reward signing by the organization.

Up Next for the Sharks

The Sharks have four games on their schedule this week, the first of which will come Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They will then see the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. Ending off their week will be a Sunday road match against the Vegas Golden Knights, a team that is currently fighting for their playoff lives.

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