Oilers, Evander Kane 'not close to a deal,' says Ken Holland

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland gives an update on contract negotiations with Evander Kane, saying that discussions will likely extend into the start of free agency on July 13th. Courtesy: Oilers TV

Signing Evander Kane was a resounding success for the Edmonton Oilers last season, so naturally they'd like to have him back, but they're "not close to a deal," said general manager Ken Holland on Wednesday.

"I've spoken to his agent Dan Milstein the past few days, and we will continue to talk to see if there is a solution," Holland added just one week from free agency.

Kane produced 22 goals and 17 assists with the Oilers last season and followed it up with 13 goals in the playoffs after he had his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks for 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. He has since filed a grievance with the Sharks, which NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last month could continue past July 13.

"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."

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.

Holland also gave an update on his goaltending, saying he'd like to find support for "banged-up" Mike Smith in the next 10 days, especially with Mikko Koskinen now gone to play in Switzerland.

As for defenceman Duncan Keith, Holland said he'd spoken to him twice over the past few weeks and feels he's closer to knowing his decision on whether he'll retire or play.

"I'd like a final answer by Saturday," he said.

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