Evander Kane makes return to San Jose after Sharks’ contract termination

evander kane
Feb 8, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane (91) tries to screen Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Laurent Brossoit (39) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The end between Evander Kane and the San Jose Sharks was rocky.

Kane was suspended 21 games by the league October 18 for violating its COVID-19 policy and using a fake vaccine card.

Upon completion of the suspension, Kane was sent to the American Hockey League’s San Jose Barracuda. He had eight points (two goals and six assists) in five games before entering that league’s COVID-19 protocol. While out, he crossed the border into Canada — which the NHL investigated as another protocol violation.

That led to the Sharks terminating his contract and Kane filing an appeal with the NHLPA.

Sharks have moved on from Evander Kane

“There wasn’t one incident or a certain thing that happened,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “I think it was just a combination of a lot of things.”

Monday night’s contest will be a homecoming for both Oilers’ left wing Evander Kane, who played four seasons with the Sharks before being waived on Jan. 8 following a series of off-ice incidents, and new head coach Jay Woodcroft, who began his NHL coaching career with San Jose as an assistant under Todd McLellan in 2008.

After being put on unconditional waivers by the Sharks on Jan. 8 for the purpose of having his contract terminated, he agreed to a one-year contract with the Oilers on Jan. 27. The 30-year-old forward was named San Jose’s team MVP in the 56-game 2020-21 season, when he led the Sharks with 22 goals and 27 assists.

Kane was asked if there was anything special about facing his old team.

“Not really,” Kane said. “Just a great opportunity to get two points. We play them more than once the rest of the season. It’ll be fun to be part of those games.”

evander kane oilers debut
Jan 29, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN;Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane (91) celebrates his goal against Montreal Canadiens with teammates during the first period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers looking to stay ahead of San Jose

The Oilers, who are three points ahead of the Sharks in the Pacific standings, are four points behind Anaheim for the second wild-card spot but also have four games in hand and host the Ducks on Thursday night. They also play at third-place Los Angeles, which has a four-point lead over them in the Pacific standings, on Tuesday night in the second game of a back-to-back.

Woodcroft is 1-0 since replacing Dave Tippett on Thursday, earning a 3-1 home victory over the New York Islanders on Friday that saw goaltender Mike Smith stop 37 of 38 shots and Connor McDavid pick up two assists.

“It was a good team win,” said Woodcroft of his NHL coaching debut. “I enjoyed the way the game was played today. I thought our players really played hard for each other. Mike Smith turned in an ‘A’ performance in goal and allowed us a chance to work our way into the game. And I thought we got better as the game went on.”

San Jose will be playing for the first time since a 3-2 overtime loss at Tampa Bay on Feb. 1. The Sharks got some good news during their two-week break when head coach Bob Boughner said two-time Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, who underwent surgery in late January to repair a small muscle tear in his left forearm, could be back sooner than the original mid-March prognosis.

“He says he’s feeling pretty good,” Boughner said. “I think he is going to be (back) ahead of schedule at the end of the day.”

Karlsson has scored eight goals and 26 points in 33 games this season.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report