After scoring 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games last season, Kane has yet to suit up for the Sharks after he was suspended without pay for 21 games for a violation of the league’s COVID protocols after the start of the season.
Kane’s had off-ice issues that have persisted for much of the last calendar year. A bankruptcy filing shadowed over his 2020-21 campaign, while multiple investigations into allegations of gambling and domestic abuse by the league occurred over the offseason. Contrary to the result of the suspension, he was cleared by the league on both of those allegations.
A veteran of 769 NHL games, Kane will be assigned to the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda if he clears waivers. If he reports, it would be Kane’s first time playing in the AHL. He made the jump straight to the Atlanta Thrashers from the WHL’s Vancouver Giants in 2009.
Whether Kane will ever return to the Sharks organization at the NHL level remains unclear. Multiple reports surfaced this offseason that many players couldn’t get along with Kane, and the team may not want to jeopardize what seems to be a positive developing culture as the younger team gets off to a hot start. Still, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that Kane returns and suits up for the Sharks again.
His AHL assignment could be an effort to allow teams an opportunity to scout him and see him back in action before making a trade to acquire him. The Sharks have let it be known that they’re willing to retain salary in a trade.
Kane has four seasons remaining on a contract with a $7MM cap hit.
Curtis Pashelka of The San Jose Mercury News was the first to report this story.