The Sharks know they'll be without Evander Kane until at least Nov. 30, after the winger was suspended by the NHL on Monday for 21 games for a violation of COVID-19 protocols. It remains to be seen if he'll be invited back to the team at that time, or if San Jose has something else in mind.
But whatever the Sharks decide, they reportedly will not be able to remove Kane's contract from their books.
"One option they don’t have is the possibility of terminating what’s remaining on Evander Kane’s contract," TSN's Chris Johnson reported on "Insider Trading" Wednesday. "Two sources confirm that the CBA won’t allow for that to happen once Evander has cleared the suspension. Essentially, it’s because the punishment he received here, the 21 games for the COVID-19 protocol violation, is the punishment and so it puts San Jose in a bit of a tough spot.
"I don’t get the sense, at all, that they’ve decided how they’ll proceed going forward here. Perhaps at some point he’s waived and sent to the AHL, maybe they try to pay him to stay home. I think a trade will be pretty difficult at this point in time, but certainly, they can’t terminate that contract."
Kane will not count against the salary cap while he is suspended, which will result in the Sharks getting about $1.7 million in cap relief. Were they able to get out from under the remainder of Kane's contract entirely, they theoretically would be in a position to acquire a high-salaried star player in a trade, such as Buffalo Sabres centerman Jack Eichel. Johnson's report, however, would seem to rule out that possibility.
The Sharks are off to a tremendous start without Kane, having won their first two games. But even if he never rejoins the team this season, they just might be stuck with him.