Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Dave Tippet on Evander Kane speculation

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Oct 21, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his goal against the Arizona Coyotes during the second period at Gila River Arena. It was the 200th career NHL goal for McDavid. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Edmonton Oilers are said to be one of the lead candidates to sign unrestricted free agent forward Evander Kane. Yesterday, the NHL announced a probe into Kane’s protocol violation which will hold up any potential new deal.

The investigation is regarding Kane’s traveling while in the COVID-19 protocol, per a SportsNet report on Wednesday.

The probe stems from Kane returning home to Vancouver on Dec. 29 after testing positive eight days earlier. It was that travel without medical clearance that prompted the San Jose Sharks to terminate his contract, citing a violation of AHL’s COVID-19 protocol.

McDavid and Tippet weigh in on Kane speculation

“It’s a moot point,” head coach Dave Tippet repeated over and over again.

“Both sides are still doing their due diligence,” Tippet said about the speculation. “[GM Ken Holland] and his staff told me they are looking at it.”

The Oilers’ captain also weighed in on the rumors that Kane could be joining the team.

“There’s lots of talk going around… I talked to Kenny and know about the situation,” McDavid revealed. “Right now it’s all speculation.”

It’s what McDavid said next, as the face of the NHL that has drawn some criticism.

“Evander is an amazing player,” he said. “Whatever else that has been going on isn’t something that I have looked into much.”

“I’m not here to discuss optic issues,” McDavid said regarding Kane’s previously documented issues. “If fans don’t like, or media, it is what it is. Public opinion is something that matters a lot but we are here to try and win games. If that’s what (Ken Holland) can do then he has our full support.”

Kane was looking to sign this weekend

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May 7, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (R) reacts to the referee during the second period against the Arizona Coyotes at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week Pierre LeBrun touched base with Kane’s agent Dan Milstein, who said: “We are interviewing with teams. Almost done. Contract by weekend.”

Kane led the Sharks in goals (22) and assists (27) while appearing in all 56 games last season.

He has 264 goals and 242 assists in 769 career games for the Atlanta Thrashers (2009-11), Winnipeg Jets (2011-15), Buffalo Sabres (2015-18) and Sharks.

Oilers GM Ken Holland went on record about the Oilers interest.

“I’ve talked to his agent, his agent is Dan Milstein — I know Dan very well because he was Pavel Datsyuk’s agent,” Holland said referencing his Detroit days. “As the manager, it’s my responsibility to investigate every situation.”

The situation remains fluid as teams await the results of the probe.