Oilers give Evander Kane permission to speak to other teams

Edmonton Oilers left wing Evander Kane celebrates his goal during the third period in Game 3 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings Friday, May 6, 2022, in L.A. (AP)

The Edmonton Oilers have granted Evander Kane permission to speak with other teams before the NHL’s free agency period opens and Colorado’s Nicolas Aube-Kubel went from celebrating with the Stanley Cup on Saturday to not receiving a qualifying offer from the Avalanche on Monday.

In a text to The Associated Press, Kane’s agent, Daniel Milstein, wrote he’s opening talks with other teams while also continuing discussions with the Oilers with his client eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.

Kane signed with Edmonton in January after the San Jose Sharks terminated the remainder of his seven-year, $49 million contract for violating COVID-19 protocols while in the American Hockey League. Kane has challenged the Sharks’ decision by filing a grievance through the NHL Players’ Association.

Earlier last season, he was suspended by San Jose for 21 games for submitting a fake vaccine card.

Kane topped 20 goals for the eighth time in 13 NHL seasons by scoring 22 goals and 39 points in 43 games with Edmonton. Oilers GM Ken Holland last week said he was having daily conversations in a bid to re-sign Kane.

In Colorado, the defending champion Avalanche informed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel he will not receive a qualifying offer and will become a free agent when the market opens, a person with knowledge of the decision told The AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced its decisions.

The move comes with the Avalanche focusing their attention on attempting to re-sign forward Valeri Nichushkin, who completed the final year of his contract.

Aube-Kubel learned of the decision two days after bringing the Cup to his childhood home in Quebec. The 26-year-old Aube-Kubel has four seasons of NHL experience and was claimed by Colorado after being waived by the Philadelphia Flyers in November. He had 11 goals and 22 points in 67 regular-season games for the Avalanche, and had no points in 14 playoff games.


— The purge in Chicago continued with the Blackhawks placing veteran forward Brett Connolly and center Henrik Borgstrom on waivers with the intention to buy out the remainder of their contracts. Both had one year remaining on their respective deals. The moves follow Chicago trading forward Alex DeBrincat to Ottawa and centre Kirby Dach to Montreal last week.

— The Columbus Blue Jackets declined to make offers to defenceman Gabriel Carlsson and centre Kevin Stenlund. Carlsson has just two goals and 16 points in 75 career games over six seasons. Stenlund has 11 goals and 20 points in 71 games over four seasons. The Blue Jackets did extend qualifying offers to four players, including star forward Patrik Laine (26 goals, 36 assists last season).

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