Evander Kane set to make Oilers debut after probes and contract termination

Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers appear set to welcome Evander Kane with open arms.

Kane, the mercurial forward placed on unconditional waivers by the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 8, was cleared by an NHL investigation Thursday and signed a one-year deal with the Oilers.

Kane is expected to make his Edmonton debut Saturday night when the Oilers are in Montreal.

Oilers ready to welcome Evander Kane

“Obviously Evander is an amazing player,” McDavid said earlier this month when rumors of the Oilers’ interest in Kane bubbled. “And he’s had lots of success over the last couple of years, and whatever else is going on, it’s not something I look into much. … I’m not really here to discuss optic issues. If fans don’t like it, or the media doesn’t like it, or whatever, it is what it is.”

Kane was suspended 21 games by the league Oct. 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.

Evander Kane probes

evander kane oilers
Jan 8, 2019; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) reacts after scoring a goal during the second period against the Edmonton Oilers at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Kane also was the subject of two offseason probes by the league — allegations of domestic abuse by his estranged wife and that he gambled on NHL games.

“I’m a guy that will do anything that I can to help the team win,” Kane told TSN in an interview Thursday. “If that’s scoring, if that’s hitting, if that’s blocking a shot, if that’s getting into a fight, if that’s whatever it may be … on the power play, on the (penalty kill). … That’s what I’ve shown my entire career.”

Kane had 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) in 56 games for the Sharks last season, his seventh season with at least 20 goals.

“Obviously Evander Kane is a good player, and he’s a big, strong power forward that’s hard to play against,” Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith said. “As far as the leadership group, it’s talk to the guy, talk to different players, get to know them. Any time you add a player like that, a good player, you’d be excited about that. … We’d be happy to have him as players and excited to have him join the group and help us out.”

–Field Level Media