One of the monster trades that took place at the deadline is still paying off. The San Jose Sharks just swept the Anaheim Ducks in the first-round series on Wednesday night, and Evander Kane was a major part of the team's success as they wait to face off against the menacing Vegas Golden Knights in the second round.
Kane was traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the Sharks back on February 26. Going back the other way was a conditional 2019 first-round pick, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020 plus prospect Daniel O’Regan. It would become a first-round pick should Kane sign with the Sharks. And there lies the important question. Will the Sharks offer a contract extension to the top forward?
Kane has made a big impact on the Sharks since arriving. He stepped right onto the top line alongside captain Joe Pavelski and has used his speed and physical play to tally nine goals and five assists in 17 games of the regular calendar. In four playoff games, the firsts of his career, Kane, who can become an unrestricted free agent in July, recorded three goals and four points.
Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports cited NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, who was asked where he thought Kane’s mindset may be toward the Sharks and free agency during a radio hit on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 on Tuesday. While Friedman believes Kane would like to remain a Shark for a long time, he added that another pending free agent could steal the show in San Jose.
“I think that Kane would like to stay,” explained Friedman. “I think they’re very interested in Kane staying. They’ve got like $20 million in cap room. I think that the other thing San Jose has its eye on if he tests the market is Tavares. They’re one of the teams that everybody has kind of linked to him. Now, the way they’re going right now, who knows how this could change everything.
“But I do think they have interest in Kane. Why wouldn’t he have interest in them? They’ve got a ton of cap room. But I think San Jose is one of those teams that wants to pitch Tavares. And I think a lot of teams, if they decide he’s the guy they want and they think they have a legitimate chance at him, they probably wait to see what happens. Although San Jose is one of the few teams that has the room that they could do both.”
Both players are quite comparable when it comes down to salary cap. Kane’s cap hit is $5.25 million, although the final four seasons of his contract have been paying him $6 million annually in actual salary. Tavares has also been collecting $6 million in salary, with a cap hit of $5.5 million.
Wherever Tavares ends up playing, you better believe he will cash in a big cheque. As for Kane, he might have some competition in San Jose after all...