Evander Kane
It now appears that Evander Kane has played his last game for the Sharks. Should a Cup contender take a chance on Kane? (Brandon Magnus | Credit: NHLI via Getty Images)

Should A Contender Take A Chance On Evander Kane?

It looks like Evander Kane has played his last game for the San Jose Sharks. Nobody really knows what’s going on with the Sharks first line left winger. Kane, 30, is currently suspended for using a fake Covid-19 vaccine card. That’s not really the story. Nobody knows where the guy is. Kane is not practicing or skating with the team. His own team doesn’t know where the guy is.

The sense around the Sharks now is that Kane will not return to the team at all even when his suspension is lifted.

YIKES.

Kane has a long list of off the ice concerns that we don’t necessarily have to dive into. Point being, any team trading for Kane knows what they’re signing up for. Albeit, a really talented player that can put the puck in the net. Kane scored 22 goals for a really bad Sharks team a year ago and was far and away the team’s best player with the lone exception being maybe Tomáš Hertl.

Kane has his faults but he has plenty left in the tank, is a really physical player, and can put the puck in the net. The question probably comes down to how desperate the Sharks are ridding themselves of the former 4th overall pick in 2009.

Desperate is the key word here because it’s multi-layered. Nobody wants Kane’s contract that carries an average annual value of $7 million through the 2024-2025 season. The Sharks have a lot of horrendous contracts on the books but that doesn’t mean this one is necessarily any better. If San Jose wants to trade Kane, they need to either take a bad contract back or retain a serious amount of money.

A logical trade partner seems to be one who considers themselves an aggressive contender. On the surface, it’s hard to find a trade that makes sense.

Sure, the Stars wouldn’t mind shedding the Jamie Benn contract, but I’m not sure that would sit well with the fan base.

Boston absolutely needs more depth scoring, but I’m not sure Kane is a fit. Brad Marchand and Taylor Hall are already left wingers and the former needs to be re-signed after the season.

The Oilers make a lot of sense but I’m not sure how you even get a deal started. Does Zack Kassian and Cody Ceci move the needle for you? Because that’s what the deal would have to look like.

Maybe the Islanders? As we discussed on the last Hockey Show, this Isles offense is broken and they have enough depth pieces to make something work. Still, this doesn’t feel like a move Lou Lamoriello would make.

The Flyers do sort of make some sense but are you okay with moving Joel Farabee further down the pecking order? Are you okay with deal James Van Riemsdyk? He’s weirdly a good fit in Philadelphia with the way he’s able to deflect pucks in front of the net. JVR is also a Jersey guy so he’s more connected to the franchise than you would otherwise think.

Only two teams really make sense, in my opinion. Are the Lightning willing to pull some cheese again? Nikita Kucherov is on injured reserve again. Is Tampa willing to Kucherov, Kucherov again (and you know exactly what I meant and I’m correct)? If so, Imagine Kane on Tampa. Ondrej Palat is capable but there’s a real hole at the left wing spot. No offense to Mathieu Joseph and Pierre-Édouard Bellemare, and Pat Maroon but we can do better here.

Why not go for the three peat? What do you have to lose? It’s a culture Kane should buy into. It’s the NFL version of Tom Brady recruiting Antonio Brown to Tampa. It worked. Why wouldn’t this one?

The other has to be the Vegas Golden Knights. We’ve already seen how aggressive this franchise is by trading for Jack Eichel a couple of weeks ago. A fully healthy VGK team is already around $5 million over the cap. Some maneuvering is going to have to be done eventually anyway. There are creative ways to get to the finish line.

The most aggressive approach may be swapping Max Pacioretty for Kane with San Jose retaining some of Kane’s salary. Both players are unreliable for different reasons. Pacioretty can’t stay healthy and he’s aging rapidly. Vegas could also offer Evgeni Dadonov, Brayden McNabb and a sweetner to help inch closer to the finish line.

I’m not sure Kane is the best fit in Vegas because the man likes to gamble but god adding another premier scorer to this team just might clinch the Cup. Truthfully, I’d rather have Kane over Pacioretty too. Trading Pacioretty is something Vegas needs to seriously consider.

Then again, there doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight because nothing will become resolved until Kane officially doesn’t show up once his suspension is lifted. Regardless, the odds of Kane playing in San Jose again feel slim. A trade feels like it will happen eventually.

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