Tuesday: Obviously without commenting on any of his player’s personal financial issues, San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner tells Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports “I don’t think we’re worried” about Kane’s availability this season, nor his ongoing bankruptcy case becoming a distraction. Boughner stated that Kane “seems ready to go” and that “I am assured that he will be here for the whole season.” Of course, the status quo could still change given the ongoing proceedings, but as of right now there does not appear be any risk of missed time. This would lend itself to the idea that Kane’s inclusion of his contractual rights in his bankruptcy filing was a required or otherwise strategic move and less of an actual threat.
Monday: In the middle of a wild and seemingly unrelated story pertaining to San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane, a small note in a legal document could have a major impact on the Sharks’ season. As detailed by The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan, Kane filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in federal court in San Jose on Monday, citing $26.8MM in dept. In detailing his income, a current seven-year, $49MM contact signed with San Jose in 2018, Kane issues this warning:
Debtor may terminate his contract and he may opt out of the season, as allowed under current rules, because of health concerns given the recent birth of his first child. Should he terminate his contract or opt out at a point in the season, Debtor will not receive his salary.
Now, Kane is not going to terminate his contract with the Sharks. The deadline to opt out of the season, which begins in just two days, was this past Saturday, January 9. However, if Kane’s decision to opt out is motivated by health concerns related to his family, there is already precedent that he will be allowed to do so. Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask opted out of the 2020 postseason after it had already began due to concerns over his own daughter’s health. Kane would not need to terminate his deal to get out of playing this season and that’s unlikely the outcome the Sharks would pursure anyway.
That of course does little to comfort Sharks fans. After a season in which San Jose struggled greatly despite a strong roster on paper, there was hope for a rebound this year. They now face the possibility that the player who was arguably their very best in 2019-20 could miss the new campaign. Kane led the Sharks with 26 goals and was second in total scoring with 47 points, all while missing six games due to injury. He was also the only effective trigger man on the power play, notching 14 power play goals of San Jose’s 33 total. Replacing that offense would be next to impossible for the Sharks. The physical Kane was also expected to pick up some of the slack in the checking game left behind by the departures of Brenden Dillon and Barclay Goodrow.
Kane clearly has more on his mind than the Sharks’ hopes for the season, what with a newborn daughter as well as a a bankruptcy case that cites gambling debts, civil lawsuits, and claims from upwards of 47 creditors. However, missing the season certainly won’t help the latter and in the long run won’t help the former. All involved are definitely hoping that the resolution to this whole situation involves Kane suiting up for the San Jose this season. His full participation in training camp as well as the unknown intricacies of what he was required to disclose in the bankruptcy filing lend hope that this will be the outcome, but the end result remains to be seen.