NHL Rumor Mill – August 12, 2021
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reports Evander Kane was a problem for the San Jose Sharks during last season. Sources indicate several players spoke to general manager Doug Wilson about the winger throughout 2020-21, telling him they didn’t want to be part of the Sharks going forward if Kane was still on the team.
Kane is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings and is also under league investigation over allegations by his estranged wife that he bet on NHL games. However, the players’ displeasure had to do with his disrespect for team rules. One source claimed Kane nearly came to blows with assistant coach Rocky Thompson during an argument over where he’d play on the power play.
Kurz indicates Kane had to answer to respected veterans on previous Sharks teams like Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton. That’s no longer the case with those players gone. During a season-ending media interview, head coach Bob Boughner seemed to express regret over not holding all his players to the same standard during the club’s failed effort to secure a playoff spot.
Wilson attempted to trade Kane earlier this summer. However, he couldn’t find any takers for a winger with an expensive contract and a long history of being disruptive in the dressing room.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks also cannot buy out Kane because this summer’s second and last buyout window is closed. Kurz suggests they could void his contract if it is proven he bet on NHL games. Otherwise, they’re stuck with the winger unless they can find someone willing to take him off their hands in a trade.
He agrees with Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland’s view that the threatened signing is nothing but a bluff. Strickland pointed out CSKA Moscow can’t afford an eight-figure contract for Kaprizov. Most of their budget for the coming season is already spent plus there’s a salary cap of around $12 million USD.
“I have no clue why people are buying it and why people are reporting KHL as a possible challenger for Kaprizov,” Kalnins tweeted. In another tweet, he said he’s heard the 24-year-old winger “still intends and wants to remain with Minnesota.” A source told him the KHL offer had been on the table for “a long while” and it’s merely being considered an “emergency offer.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov’s camp may have overplayed their hand. They hope to get a short-term contract (three years or less) from the Wild taking the winger up to age 27, when he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agent status. The Wild, of course, prefer a long-term deal and were reportedly offering seven and eight-year deals worth $9 million annually.
It’s now said the Wild are willing to consider mid-range offers of five and six years. I can see a compromise where the two sides agree on a four-year deal for between $8 million and $9 million annually.
That’s still a lot of money for a player with just 55 games of NHL experience. but Kaprizov is the most talented offensive player to join the Wild’s ranks in years. As last season’s Calder Trophy winner, he’s poised for what should be a successful NHL career. The Wild will do what they can to ensure most of that is spent in Minnesota.