At this point is it safe to say that Evander Kane is the Antonio Brown of hockey?
The 30-year old veteran forward has officially flunked out of the NHL due to behavioral issues and rumored skirmishes with teammates. Kane has not played a game this season for the San Jose Sharks, rather five with the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL. He has had an eventful past couple of years which included a fake vaccine card, an alleged video of him pulling a gun on his former wife, and a file for bankruptcy.
Kane started the 2021-22 NHL season suspended as he provided a fake vaccination card. He was suspended for 21 games and was then sent down to the San Jose Barracuda of the AHL. On Saturday Kane was placed on unconditional waivers by the Sharks organization to terminate his contract. The final straw for the Sharks is believed to be Kane leaving the country which once again violated the team’s COVID-19 policies.
The NHLPA has filed a grievance and Kane is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the next couple of days. The question is are any teams willing to give Kane another shot at the NHL level? Should the Vegas Golden Knights be interested?
The Case For Kane’s Return
Without getting too political here the National Hockey League has proved to be one of the slowest leagues in the entire professional sports world in terms of getting with the times. A friendly reminder that golden boy Marc-Andre Fleury sadly is playing for an organization that has plenty of skeletons in the closet.
The NHL is no stranger to giving controversial players second chances. Just look at the Montreal Canadiens drafting Logan Mailloux, or the Carolina Hurricanes signing Tony DeAngelo. At the end of the day, the goal is to win for every NHL team. Sadly, for some general managers in the NHL, that means crossing some tough moral boundaries
If the NHL’s recent track record is anything to go off of, expect Kane to sign somewhere. He is just that good. Before his demotion to the AHL Kane was scoring at 1.7 points per game pace in 2020-21 with the Sharks.
If He Comes Back, It Shouldn’t Be In Vegas
Due to the fact he played Sharks, Kane has become a bit of a hated player by the Golden Knights fanbase. Kane and Ryan Reaves go way back and things peaked in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs when the two fought in a heated exchange. So for Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon to bring in Kane, it would put a target on his head for Golden Knights fans. It would be like the New York Rangers or Pittsburgh Penguins signing Tom Wilson.
I have heard the argument that Kane on the third line with Evgenii Dadonov and Chandler Stephenson gets you a parade on the Las Vegas Strip. But as far as I am concerned there have been over 100 Stanley Cups awarded in this history of the National Hockey League and none of them have Evander Kane’s name on it.
Kane can score, but it is simply too risky. Bringing in a player of his nature could easily disrupt the chemistry in the locker room between the Golden Knights players. The leadership group of Mark Stone, Alex Pietrangelo, Max Pacioretty, and others would be working overtime to make sure Kane complies with the team’s system.
Bringing in Kane would also reunite him with some of his former teammates and coaches. Relationships that didn’t necessarily work out in the past. There is Kane’s former head coach of three seasons, Peter DeBoer, as well as former Buffalo teammates Robin Lehner and Jack Eichel. The possibility of Kane having a feud with any of those three names is simply too risky as all three of DeBoer, Eichel, and Lehner, are vital to the Golden Knight’s success.
Lastly, Jack Eichel is set to wear no. 9 for the Golden Knights, not Kane!
I am of the belief that any team that is looking to acquire Kane should ask their players first if they are all on board with it. The Vegas Golden Knights should not be one of these teams in the first place as bringing in Kane is simply too risky for a team that has their sights set on winning their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.