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Evander Kane Sharks’ Grievance Could Drag Out Past NHL Free Agency

Evander Kane’s grievance case against the San Jose Sharks could drag out past NHL free agency, which is a problem for a number of people.

Per reports from a few NHL insiders, the grievance between the San Jose Sharks and Evander Kane over Kane’s terminated contract might not find a resolution for some time. A process that was supposed to be finalized before free agency now appears to be a false timeline as the arbitrator who is handling the grievance isn’t available.

Related: NHL Quick Hits: Hutton (Leafs), Gaudreau (Flames), Guhle (Canadiens)

Sources have quoted NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly who has said, Kane’s contract termination grievance process may extend past the opening of free agency on July 13. More hearings need to be conducted but the neutral arbitrator is not available in June. That opens up the door to some potential issues for a number of teams.

First, it requires the Sharks likely wait to conduct any free agency business until they know how much or how little they have to pay Kane, should they lose their case. Second, depending on what Kane is or isn’t allowed to do once that grievance has been settled, it may require he wait until he knows what he’s getting or not getting from the Sharks before he commits to another team. Finally, teams that are interested in Kane may wait until they know how much he’s being paid by the Sharks. This is all, assuming, of course, that Kane and any team he wants to sign with are comfortable waiting.

If they aren’t, then what?

For example, what if the Edmonton Oilers are keen to lock Kane into another deal? But, if they don’t know how much the Sharks are on the hook for with this grievance, how much do the Oilers offer? Offering too much lets San Jose off the hook if they lose their grievance and means the Oilers have overpaid for an asset they could have gotten cheaper. Or, if the Oilers don’t offer enough and Kane believes the Sharks will win the grievance, he could bolt for a team that doesn’t care what the results of the grievance are and gives him $7 or $8 million per season.

Meanwhile, it makes sense that Kane might not want to wait because the longer he does, the smaller the pool of teams who will show interest in him are.

The whole situation is messy and it greatly affects so many different sides. That the NHL can’t figure out a way to make this work before July 13 is baffling, but getting a new arbitrator means hearing the case all over again.

Next: NHL Quick Hits: Keith (Oilers), Bellemare (Bolts) & Lafreniere (Rangers)



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