The Edmonton Oilers have spoken to the agent for Evander Kane, general manager Ken Holland said Tuesday.
The forward was placed on unconditional waivers by the San Jose Sharks on Saturday with the intention of terminating his contract.
“Well, I’ve talked to his agent,” Holland said Tuesday. “His agent is Dan Milstein and I know Dan very well because he was Pavel Datsyuk’s agent. And I had lots of dealings with Dan Milstein. So I have talked to Dan Milstein, his agent.”
Holland was general manager of the Detroit Red Wings for 22 seasons, and Datsyuk played his 14-season NHL career for Detroit.
“I would say to you, as a (general) manager it’s my responsibility to investigate every situation, talk to managers. So I have talked to Dan,” Holland said.
The Sharks said in a statement they informed Kane they were terminating his contract “for breach of his NHL standard player contract and for violation of the AHL COVID-19 protocols.”
Kane is in the fourth season of a seven-year contract he signed with the Sharks on May 24, 2018. He has not played for them this season after being suspended by the NHL for 21 games on Oct. 18 for violating NHL COVID-19 protocol.
The 30-year-old cleared waivers and was assigned to San Jose of the American Hockey League on Nov. 29. He scored eight points (two goals, six assists) in five AHL games but has not played since entering AHL COVID-19 protocol Dec. 22.
The NHL Players’ Association said Saturday on Twitter, “We are aware of the San Jose Sharks’ stated intent to terminate Evander Kane’s contract. The NHLPA intends to challenge any such action by filing a grievance.”
That day, Milstein tweeted, “We are aware of the Sharks’ decision to put Evander on waivers for contract termination. If he clears, we will file a grievance. The Sharks do not have sufficient grounds for taking this action.”
If Kane’s contract is terminated, he would become an unrestricted free agent.
Holland was asked Tuesday if the Oilers’ focus on Kane would be to help him become a better person and whether Holland would compare Kane’s situation with that of former Red Wings forward Dan Cleary, or that of Oilers forward Zack Kassian, in that each player was brought in as a kind of “reclamation project.”
“I think it would be to get an understanding of everything that’s gone on in that person’s life,” Holland said. “Not their whole life, but get an understanding of what’s going on. To answer your question, I believe in second chances.
“It’s hard to be perfect. We’re all people. We all make mistakes. Some make big mistakes, some make little mistakes but it’s hard to be perfect. And I think if somebody makes a decision or does something in their life and they make a mistake, I think they have to try to learn from it and try to change and then should be entitled to a second opportunity once they do some of those things.”
Answering a general question on whether he was open to reclamation projects, Holland said he was.
“I’ve been a (general) manager for a long time, so I think the answer is yes,” he said. “I think you’re talking about a player that hasn’t worked out somewhere else. I’m not sure of the word ‘reclamation project’ because these are … so when a situation doesn’t work out somewhere else, to give someone another opportunity, do I believe in it? Yes.”
Selected by the Atlanta Thrashers with the No. 4 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Kane has scored 506 points (264 goals, 242 assists) in 769 regular-season games with the Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks, and 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 29 Stanley Cup Playoff games.