Kane's contract grievance with Sharks may continue past opening of free agency

NHL deputy commissioner attorney Bill Daly provides an update on the Evander Kane contract termination grievance process, stating that an arbitrator won't be able to conduct a hearing until next month and it may not be resolved before free agency.

Evander Kane's ongoing contract grievance with the San Jose Sharks may continue past the opening of free agency next month, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Wednesday.

Daly said the delay is because the league's arbitrator is unavailable to them during the month of June.

"We have to work on some dates as early in the summer as we can," Daly said. "If it goes to the second day of hearing and we wait for the decision from the arbitrator, which we'll want a written award, my guess is (a decision would come) past the date of free agency."

Kane and the NHLPA filed a grievance against the Sharks in early January after the team terminated his contract for what it called a "breach of his NHL Standard Player Contract and for violation of the AHL COVID-19 protocols." At the time Kane was in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49-million contract signed with the Sharks in 2018.

Following the termination of his contract, Kane signed with the Edmonton Oilers for the remainder of the season and proved to be an impactful player there — scoring 13 goals in the playoffs as the Oilers reached the Western Conference Final.

In mid-April, The Athletic reported that Kane had travelled to New York for a hearing related to the grievance but further hearings were not scheduled while Kane remained active with the Oilers.

It's not immediately clear how the arbitrator's decision will impact Kane's free agency but he is expected to be a player many teams covet on the open market following his strong offensive showing with the Oilers.

NHL free agency will open at noon ET on July 13.

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