UPDATE [11:00am ET]: Evander Kane has reportedly been given permission to speak to other teams in advance of the market opening on Wednesday. Details of the hang-up between Kane and Edmonton are below.
With 48 hours until the opening of free agency on Wednesday, the Edmonton Oilers and forward Evander Kane remain far apart on a contract extension to keep him in Oil Country. Source tell Daily Faceoff that the Kane camp, led by agent Dan Milstein of Gold Star Hockey, and the Oilers met on Sunday and made little progress in talks, which have been ongoing since Edmonton bowed out of the Western Conference final in May.
Kane’s camp is steadfast in their belief he can earn in the range of $40 to $50 million on the market this week in a new pact elsewhere on the market. The Oilers, meanwhile, do not appear willing to sign Kane to a long-term contract. It’s believed the Oilers have presented a series of a creative shorter-term options, recognizing he may be the best stylistic match available to skate on a line with Connor McDavid as a true finisher with size and an edge to his game. But there is a limit to their interest.
Will a team be willing to offer Kane a six or seven-year deal? Or will the two sides re-engage once the market opens if that does not materialize? Those are the multi-million dollar questions.
Kane, 30, fit like a glove in Edmonton, scoring 35 goals in 58 games as an Oiler including the Stanley Cup playoffs. Despite falling eight wins short, Kane led the postseason with 13 goals.
Kane is also still awaiting resolution to his grievance with the San Jose Sharks, who he alleges improperly terminated his contract in January. That resolution will not come before Wednesday and the neutral arbitrator could end up voiding any new deal signed by Kane, should he win the grievance. In a perfect world, the Oilers would’ve received clarity by now on the status of that grievance.
“Well, I mean, I would, but unfortunately it’s not a perfect world,” Oilers GM Ken Holland said last Wednesday. “So it is what it is. It’s unique, it’s different.”
While the Oilers have not totally closed the door on Kane’s return, sources say Edmonton has begun to focus on other options to add scoring to the lineup with their newfound cap space by virtue of Duncan Keith and Mike Smith not returning.
Down Highway 2 in Alberta, the Flames are also beginning to grapple with what life may be like if Johnny Gaudreau decides to sign elsewhere. To this point, there has been no traction in talks with Gaudreau – the No. 1 player available this summer – and his real deadline to re-sign is looming on Tuesday night when the Flames lose their ability to offer an eight-year deal.
Here’s the latest Daily Faceoff Top 50 Free Agents ahead of Wednesday’s shopping: