Sharks re-sign Evander Kane to seven-year deal

Sharks re-sign Evander Kane to seven-year deal

The Sharks officially re-signed pending free agent Evander Kane to a seven-year contract extension on Thursday, the team announced.

"At only 26 years old, Evander has established himself as one of hockey's true power forwards and an impact player," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We think his abilities mesh perfectly with our group of skilled, young players and veteran leaders. It's extremely heartening to have Evander join a trend of elite players who have chosen to remain in San Jose. It speaks volumes as to how players view this organization and further illustrates the continued commitment to our fans by our owner Hasso Plattner." 

The deal reportedly carries a cap hit of $7 million annually, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun and confirmed by CapFriendly, making Kane San Jose's highest-paid player. He's now the seventh player on the roster with some kind of no-trade clause in his contract, according to CapFriendly, and Kane's modified no-trade clause allows him to submit a list of three teams he can be traded to. 

Kane made an immediate impact upon his arrival in San Jose. He scored 14 points (nine points, five assists) in 17 regular season games with the Sharks, and scored an additional five (four goals, one assist) in nine playoff games during his first postseason appearance. Between Buffalo and San Jose, he scored 54 points (29 goals, 25 assists) in 78 regular season games, the second-highest and highest marks of his career, respectively.

He hit the 20-goal mark for the third consecutive season, which was a career-first, and his 53 five-on-five goals over the last three years are tied-for-13th among forwards, according to Corsica Hockey. Kane also generated qualtiy chances during that span, and his five-on-five expected goals rate (0.87 per hour) ranks 28th among all skaters that played at least 500 minutes in the last three seasons. 

The 26-year-old told The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz that he played through a separated shoulder and MCL injury in the playoffs. Before this year, Kane had never played more than 75 games in a season, and had reached the 70-game threshold four times in the first eight years of his career.

The Sharks acquired Kane at the trade deadline, trading forward Danny O’Regan, a conditional first-round pick in 2019, and a conditional mid-round pick in 2019 or 2020 to the Sabres. The former is now a first-round pick because Kane re-signed, while San Jose general manager Doug Wilson will have to decide next year if he wants to give up a fourth rounder in 2019 or a third rounder in 2020.

At the trade deadline, the Sharks were Kane’s only “legitimate” suitor, according to Sabres general manager Jason Botterill. That was, perhaps in part, because of Kane’s past.

He was accused of sexual assault in 2015, but ultimately did not face charges. Charges, including harassment, stemming from a separate incident in 2016 with two women and a bouncer at a Buffalo bar were eventually dismissed.

Additionally, Kane reportedly clashed with teammates in his previous stops in Winnipeg and in Buffalo. But, he “fit in well” in San Jose, Logan Couture told reporters (via AP) on May 8.

“Getting to know him over these last few months he’s a great teammate,” Couture said at the time. “He cares and he wants to win. He was fun to play with.”

Kane is now the third player Wilson has signed to contract lasting at least seven years during the last 18 months. Wilson locked up Brent Burns to an eight-year, $64 million extension in Nov. 2016, and Vlasic to an eight-year, $56 million extension last July. Prior to that, Milan Michalek’s 2007 contract extension was the only deal for six years or longer.

“That’s just the landscape of what’s taken place in this league in the last two [or] three years and how contracts are structured for high-end players.” Wilson told reporters when Vlasic re-signed last summer. “Whether you like it or not, that’s just the reality of it. [In order] to keep Brent Burns, or Marc-Edouard have to accept that and do what’s necessary in that framework.”

Although he was acquired at the deadline, Kane was eligible to sign an extension at the maximum length of eight years like Burns and Vlasic, as he was added to San Jose's reserve list in time, according to CapFriendly. Kane, Burns, Vlasic, and goaltender Martin Jones are the only San Jose players signed beyond 2020, and Vlasic's the only player signed past 2025. 

Couture and captain Joe Pavelski are among the players eligible to sign contract extensions as soon as July 1. Joe Thornton, Eric Fehr, Jannik Hansen, and Joel Ward are the team’s remaining unrestricted free agents this summer. Dylan DeMelo, Tomas Hertl, and Chris Tierney are likely due raises as the only pending restricted free agents in the organization.

Sharks credit perfect penalty kill in sealing big win over Hurricanes

Sharks credit perfect penalty kill in sealing big win over Hurricanes

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks' 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night was no easy feat.

In fact, the team was fairly unhappy with how they played in the first period at SAP Center, despite heading into the first intermission with a 3-1 lead. 

But the Sharks were happy with was how their special teams propelled them to their third straight win. Although a potent power play helped get them on the board early, the penalty kill made the biggest difference.

"Our penalty kill, we've taken a lot of pride in it for a long time," coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's been good for a few years here."

The Sharks ended the night with the NHL's third-best penalty kill with a 91.7 percent success rate. San Jose has not allowed a power-play goal in each of its last three wins.

Evander Kane's first-period hat trick gave the Sharks a boost, but they spent too much time in their own zone at even strength Wednesday. The Hurricanes, who were playing the second night of a back-to-back, gave San Jose netminder Martin Jones plenty of work to do. Carolina dominated the shot clock and had the game's better chances.

But when things got extra interesting in the second period and the Sharks got into penalty trouble, their kill came to the rescue. Barclay Goodrow, a mainstay on San Jose's penalty kill, credited the Sharks' short-handed success to their pace.

"We're moving our feet, we're pressuring the opposition," he summarized. "We're forcing them to make plays a little quicker than they would like to. I think that, and we're blocking shots. And we're getting clears when we want to, so it's going well."

The Hurricanes had a golden opportunity to climb out of their two-goal hole late in the second period. Goodrow and Patrick Marleau simultaneously sat in the penalty box for hooking minors, giving Carolina 46 seconds on the 5-on-3. 

But with help from Jones, the Sharks penalty kill kept the 'Canes off the scoreboard.

"Your goalie's always your best penalty killer," DeBoer said. "He was really solid. I thought that first period [the score] could've been 3-3. He's given us two really good games in a row."

[RELATED: Watch Kane score Sharks' first-ever first-period hat trick]

While every game carries its own momentum, the Sharks undoubtedly would like for the success of their penalty kill to carry over into their next game.

The Sharks close out their three-game homestand Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres, who currently have the second-best power play in the league. As a result, San Jose knows its penalty kill will once again be a key point. 

"We're going to be playing a good Buffalo team," Sharks captain Logan Couture observed. "I think they lost tonight but they've been playing very, very well. Their power play is very hot. So it'll be a good test for us."

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-2 win over red-hot Hurricanes

Sharks takeaways: What we learned in 5-2 win over red-hot Hurricanes

SAN JOSE -- The Sharks knew the Carolina Hurricanes would be a big test Wednesday night at SAP Center. If that test was being graded, you would be hard-pressed not to give them an A.

Fueled by Evander Kane's first-period hat trick and a potent power play, the Sharks played perhaps their best game to date and stymied the Hurricanes in a 5-2 win.

Here are three takeaways from San Jose's third straight win.

Evander Kane, obviously

When a player becomes the first in Sharks history to score a hat trick before the first period ended, not giving him his own takeaway would be a crime. 

Kane's first goal deserves some recognition because of how quickly he scooped up the loose puck at Tomas Hertl's feet to chip it past Hurricanes netminder James Reimer.

But his next two power-play goals were also impressive, and his third was downright Pavelskian.

The Sharks struggled to get traffic in front of the net during their winless start, but Kane and his teammates have been much better lately getting in the goalie's grill. On Wednesday night, that effort paid off. Big time.

Martin Jones keeps rolling

When Jones made a swift glove save on Teuvo Teravainen 1:07 into the game, you could tell he was about to have another strong outing.

The 'Canes spent most of the game in the Sharks' zone, and Carolina dominated the shot clock for the duration. But Jones was in the zone.

The Sharks won't be happy that Jones faced a lot of strong chances, even if San Jose collectively did a better job at minimizing the turnovers in this game. At least with both goaltenders playing well, the Sharks have a better chance of keeping those mistakes out of the back of their net.

[RELATED: Sharks' Labanc keeping focus on future after turnaround]

A special night for the power play and penalty kill

When the Sharks' special teams were in a rough state at the very start of the season, coach Peter DeBoer said he wasn't worried about it. He had a feeling it would figure itself out, and he was right.

In addition to Kane's two power-play goals, the Sharks penalty kill came up big in the second period when they killed off the Hurricanes' two-man advantage. Even though Carolina was visibly tired due to playing on the tail end of a back-to-back, the Eastern Conference leaders were still getting some good looks in front of Jones. The Sharks penalty kill, however, was on point. 

That bodes well for Saturday when the Sharks host the Buffalo Sabres, who currently have the NHL's second-best power play.