NHL Rumor Mill – October 19, 2021
THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz wonders if the San Jose Sharks can find a way to get out of the remaining three years on Evander Kane’s contract. The 30-year-old winger’s off-ice problems prompted three NHL investigations in allegations of betting on games, domestic violence and using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. The first two couldn’t be substantiated but the league suspended Kane 21 games for the fake card.
As a group, the Sharks players have moved on from Kane, who wasn’t allowed to join them during training camp or their season-opener on Friday while the investigations were ongoing. Reports also emerged during the offseason suggesting Kane’s relationship with his teammates may be irreparably damaged due to his behavior and flouting of team rules last season.
Kurz is hoping Sharks general manager Doug Wilson can provide some clarity into Kane’s future in the coming days. He considers signing the winger to be the worst move in Wilson’s tenure, suggesting that sort of thing tends to lead to a management housecleaning.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt wonders whether the Sharks might get into the bidding for Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel if they can somehow shed the remainder of Kane’s contract. He pointed to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun suggesting the same thing last Friday before the winger’s suspension was announced.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kurz feels Kane’s use of a fake vaccination card to be a “blatant disregard for the health of his teammates and, in turn, his teammates’ families”. However, that behavior might not be sufficient grounds under the collective bargaining agreement for the Sharks to terminate his contract. We’ll have to wait and see what transpires.
Given Kane’s problems, I don’t see any team trading for him. Even without those issues, his contract would still be difficult to move under the flattened salary cap with so few teams carrying sufficient cap space to take on his $7 million annual average value.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis reports the Blackhawks don’t seem to be giving Dylan Strome the same opportunity everyone else is getting. The 24-year-old center remains a healthy scratch after the Hawks opened the season with three straight losses. He wonders if Strome will get the opportunity with the Blackhawks or another club.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is still looking around for help with center Colin White sidelined for potentially the season by shoulder surgery and forwards Auston Watson and Clarke Bishop out with ankle injuries.
Garrioch observed the Blackhawks have been trying to trade Dylan Strome. “Ottawa studied this option in the summer, so it feels like that ship has sailed.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries and inconsistent play over the last two seasons contributed to a decline in Strome’s production. However, he’s proven he can be productive when healthy and skating alongside talented linemates. Based on Garrioch’s assessment, the Senators aren’t likely to give him that chance.