Report: NHL to probe into Evander Kane for protocol breach likely to hold up deal

evander kane oilers
May 8, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9) during the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL has notified teams that it will fully investigate Evander Kane for traveling while in the COVID-19 protocol, SportsNet reported 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.

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Probe will hold up any new deal

The investigation will likely prevent teams from signing Kane in the short term. The Edmonton Oilers reportedly were mulling signing the controversial forward.

The Sharks placed Kane on unconditional waivers Saturday before terminating the rest of his deal a day later after he went unclaimed. Kane was in the fourth season of a seven-year, $49 million contract signed in May 2018.

Kane, 30, received a 21-game NHL suspension in October for submitting a fake vaccination card. He appeared in five games with the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda this season and tallied two goals and six assists before being placed in the protocol on Dec. 22.

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 were rumored landing spot

Evander Kane is now a free agent and can sign with any team. There are reportedly up to six suitors for his services which includes Toronto, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Florida, and Vegas.

One team has vaulted to the top of that list and it’s the goal starved Edmonton Oilers, who are looking to balance their scoring lines.

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

That team is sounding more and more like the Oilers as their GM, Ken Holland went on record yesterday about his 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.”

Will it still be the Oilers once this probe ends? Stay tuned.

–Field Level Media contributed to this report