Having served a 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card, Evander Kane cleared waivers on Nov. 29 and was assigned by the San Jose Sharks to their AHL affiliate. Making his debut with the San Jose Barracudas on Saturday, the 30-year-old left winger was held without a point but declared himself “NHL-ready”.
Whether that means with the Sharks or another NHL team remains to be seen. This was Kane's first game at any level since the end of last season. It could take him several more matches before he's fully back into big-league game shape.
Even then, there probably isn't a place for him with the Sharks. In addition to the well-documented strife in his domestic and financial affairs, he reportedly alienated his teammates last season by flouting club rules without consequence. Those issues, plus his hefty $7-million annual salary-cap hit through 2024-25 and three-team trade clause, seemingly make him untradeable.
Nevertheless, speculation suggests there could be some clubs willing to kick tires on Kane. On Nov. 27, the New York Post's Larry Brooks reported an Eastern Conference team had considerable interest in the winger.
On Saturday, San Jose Hockey Now's Sheng Peng reported the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars had scouts in attendance during Kane's debut with the Barracudas. He pointed out scouting trips are often planned well in advance and they prefer the convenience of attending Barracudas-Sharks doubleheaders.
The presence of those scouts at Kane's first game with the Barracudas was probably a coincidence. Still, it's worth noting four of those six clubs were from the Eastern Conference. Whether one of them is interested in Kane remains to be seen.