The San Jose Sharks were clearly happy enough with the play of trade deadline acquisition Evander Kane that they are willing to do whatever it takes to bring him back, which appears to be giving him extensive term and salary and surrendering their first-round draft pick in 2019. Sportsnet’s Irfaan Gaffar reports that the two sides are closing in on a long-term extension, the terms of which appear to be in the seven-year, $49MM range. Per the terms of their trade with the Buffalo Sabres, if Kane does re-sign in San Jose than the second-round pick exchanged in the deal will be elevated to a first-rounder.
It is certainly understandable why the Sharks would want to bring back Kane. The 26-year-old power forward is coming off arguably the best season of his career and certainly his best campaign since being traded to Buffalo from the Winnipeg Jets in 2015. Kane finished the year with 29 goals and 54 points and nine of those goals along with five assists came during the 17-game span that he spent in San Jose to close out the regular season. Kane was the Sharks’ best player during the stretch run and continued to play well in his first ever playoff appearance, notching four goals and an assist in nine games while battling injury. If Kane keeps up that level of play in San Jose, he could be a perennial 30-goal scorer and the type of finisher that the team has sorely lacked outside of Logan Couture.
Nevertheless, some will balk at the cost associated with re-signing Kane, especially after this report. Giving up a first-round pick has already scared away some fans and analysts alike when the idea of the Sharks bringing back Kane first came up. However, this rumored term and salary is also likely to turn more than a few heads. Though undeniably talented, Kane has been able to put together a complete star-caliber season just twice in his career and brings both off-ice issues and on-ice consistency and effort concerns. Granted, he appeared to fit well and play hard in San Jose, but that is not guaranteed to continue and especially not over seven years or so. The Sharks have enough cap space this season to target some of the biggest names on the market and enough talent to attract those players as well, but some will speculate that an extension for Kane of this amount would take them out of the running for a John Tavares or John Carlson, which could also upset fans and eliminate a major opportunity for San Jose.
However, the Sharks acquired Kane primarily for this year’s playoff run and he performed beyond expectations for a very fair price – Danny O’Regan, a second-rounder, and a fourth-rounder. Even if that pick becomes a first-round selection next year, it still isn’t an extreme over-payment by the Sharks given what they got out of Kane. San Jose now has exclusive right to negotiate with Kane, something they don’t have with the likes of Tavares and Carlson and something that they’ll lose come July 1st. If the team feels that an extension based on his strong trial run is the right move and the best way to use the bulk of their cap space, then doing what it takes to keep Kane, a top five free agent, from hitting the market makes sense. There is absolutely risk associated with a decision of this reported magnitude, but it could pay off for GM Doug Wilson and the Sharks.