Evander Kane, Sharks close to 7-year, $49 million contract: report

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Evander Kane will soon be getting a big raise. | Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

The Sharks and winger Evander Kane, one of this year’s top NHL free agents, are nearing a seven-year, $49 million contract, according to reports. TSN says the deal could be done as soon as Wednesday, which would take Kane off the market more than a month before he could’ve fielded offers from other teams.

The Sabres will receive the Sharks’ 2019 first-round pick as a condition of their February trade. It would have been a second-round pick had Kane signed elsewhere.

Kane, 26, would’ve been one of the most coveted players in free agency despite a history of issues off the ice. He’s still relatively young for a player eligible to hit unrestricted free agency and has a track record of solid goal production at the NHL level. It’s rare for someone with Kane’s skills and youth to be available as a UFA.

The Sharks won’t be letting other teams have their shot at Kane, however, by giving him a lucrative deal that makes him one of the highest-paid wingers in the league. San Jose isn’t giving him the max term of eight years, but an annual cap hit of $7 million is eclipsed by less than a dozen other wingers in the NHL. It’s a big step up for Kane from his previous contract, a six-year deal that paid $5.25 million per season.

Kane played well for the Sharks after the midseason trade with the Sabres. He recorded 14 points in 17 regular season games, then potted four goals in nine games in his first postseason appearance. The winger has always produced impressive shot on goal numbers throughout his career, which is part of why he’s been a reliable scorer, and in San Jose, he averaged nearly five shots per game.

The underlying numbers are mixed for Kane. He finished fifth in the NHL in individual expected goals this season with 37.8, according to Corsica, which means the kinds of shots he generated should’ve led to even more goals. However, his other contributions to the game can be limited, so his wins above replacement was just 0.52.

Still, there aren’t many players who can score like Kane, and the Sharks didn’t want to let him go after paying up to acquire him months ago. His new deal will run through the 2024-25 season.

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