Amid reports the Sharks have explored trading Evander Kane and that several of his teammates do not want him to remain with the organization, another avenue has apparently opened for the club to part ways with the embattled forward if they so choose.
Goalie Adin Hill, a restricted free agent, filed for salary arbitration on Sunday as he and the Sharks have yet to agree on a new contract. Per the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement with the Players’ Association, when a player elects salary arbitration, it allows the team to exercise a buyout outside of the regular window if certain requirements are met.
Those requirements are that the club does not have more than three buyouts that were executed in the second window, that the contract being bought out has an average annual value above $4 million and that the player being bought out was on the club’s reserve list at noon (PT) at the time of the most recent NHL trade deadline.
The Sharks have not executed more than three buyouts in the second window, Kane’s contract carries an average annual value of $7 million for the next four years and he was on the team’s reserve list on April 12, the date of this past season’s trade deadline.
A buyout in the second window would have to take place no more than 48 hours after the final arbitration case is settled or awarded. This year, 17 players elected arbitration and there are two team-elected arbitration cases. Arbitration hearings are scheduled to take place between Aug. 11 and 26.
Still, buying out the remaining years on Kane’s contract would have some expensive drawbacks for the Sharks.
For one, it would greatly increase the amount of dead money that’s already on the Sharks’ books for the next several years after Martin Jones’ contract was bought out July 27 on the last day of the regular buyout period.
Jones’ deal had carried an AAV of $5.75 million, but dead money total is roughly $7.25 million for the next three seasons combined. After that, the cap hit on the contract is reduced to $1.66 million for three more years until the 2026-27 season.
Kane’s deal, should it be bought out, would remain on the books until 2029. The dead money on his deal would total over $13 million for the next four seasons, then go to $1.833 million per year for four more years.
Between the two contracts, that would be a lot of unused space considering the cap is expected to remain flat or increase only slightly over the $81.5 million limit it is now.