Evander Kane has been a worthwhile acquisition for the Edmonton Oilers since joining them as a free agent on Jan. 27. The 30-year-old winger's solid chemistry alongside Connor McDavid prompted the Edmonton Journal's Kurt Leavins to ponder if the Oilers can afford to re-sign him.
Kane become an unrestricted free agent after the San Jose Sharks terminated the remaining three years of his contract. Despite his much-publicized personal baggage, he remains a reliable top-six winger. With 28 points in 31 games, he's is on pace to reach 20 goals for the eighth time in his 13-season NHL career.
The Oilers' limited salary-cap space for 2022-23, however, could complicate things if general manager Ken Holland hopes to re-sign Kane for a longer tenure. Cap Friendly indicates they have a projected $74.3 million invested in 15 active roster players next season.
Placing permanently sidelined Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve would provide some extra wiggle room. Nevertheless, it could still be a difficult challenge to keep Kane in the fold.
Leavins also wondered if retaining Kane could affect efforts to sign restricted free agents Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto. The 23-year-old forwards possess arbitration rights this summer.
Holland must also find a goaltender if he lets Mikko Koskinen depart in July as an unrestricted free agent. Leavins' colleague, Jim Matheson, believes the Oilers will be among the clubs pursuing Ville Husso if the St. Louis Blues netminder tests this summer's open market.
A hearing is expected at some point over the grievance filed by the NHLPA on Kane's behalf regarding his contract termination. If an arbitrator orders the Sharks to pay the remaining $19 million owed to Kane, perhaps he'll accept a more affordable deal to remain in Edmonton.