Edmonton Oilers general manager and president of hockey operations Ken Holland confirmed on Tuesday he spoke to the agent of Evander Kane, the embattled forward whose off-ice choices and troubles put his NHL career on pause.
The scope of those talks is not clear.
"I've talked to his agent, his agent is Dan Milstein -- I know Dan very well because he was Pavel Datsyuk's agent [the former Detroit Red Wings star who Holland drafted]," Holland said. "As the manager, it's my responsibility to investigate every situation."
Kane's former NHL team, the San Jose Sharks, placed him on unconditional waivers Saturday in order to terminate his contract, ending a tumultuous run that saw him face consequences at both the NHL and AHL level for breaches of Covid-related protocols.
The 30-year-old Kane was previously suspended for the first 21 games of the NHL season for using a fake vaccination card.
At its conclusion, he was sent through waivers and assigned to the AHL San Jose Barracuda, where he appeared in five games, scoring twice and adding six assists. His AHL run ended after being waived this past weekend by the Sharks, who cited "breach of his NHL Standard Player Contract and for violation of the AHL COVID-19 protocols" as the grounds for his dismissal.
The team did not specify the nature of how Kane breached protocols, and the NHLPA has since filed a grievance on his behalf, which could complicate his path to joining an interested team.
"I do believe there's legit interest out there," Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said during Saturday's 32 Thoughts segment on Hockey Night in Canada. "The league and players' association are going to have to get together a set system that this can happen because, in theory, if he were to win a grievance he would have two NHL contracts."
The Covid-protocol suspension at the start of the season was only one part of the controversy surrounding Kane, though.
The NHL also investigated allegations of domestic assault made by Anna Kane, his estranged wife, in a divorce filing, ultimately saying they "could not be substantiated."
Anna Kane also said Evander Kane had bet on NHL games, including ones he played in with the Sharks, influencing their outcomes for his own financial benefit. The NHL's investigation into those claims did not find evidence he had bet on hockey games.
Still, despite the wide-reaching off-ice troubles, Holland's comments indicate that NHL teams including the Oilers are weighing the possibility of signing Kane and the steps that process would entail.
"First it would be to get an understanding of everything that's gone on in that person's life," Holland said. "I believe in second chances. It's hard to be perfect. We're all people. We all make mistakes. Some make big mistakes, some make little mistakes, but it's hard to be perfect and I think if somebody makes a decision or does something in their life and they make a mistake, I think they have to try to learn from it. And try to change. And should be entitled to a second opportunity once they do some of those things."
Kane, who led the Sharks with 49 points last season, has 264 goals and 242 assists in 769 games during his career.