Oilers officially sign Evander Kane to one-year contract

San Jose Sharks left wing Evander Kane (9). (John Locher/AP)

The Edmonton Oilers have officially signed Evander Kane to a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday, mere hours after the NHL said its investigation into whether or not the embattled forward had breached COVID-19 protocol produced "insufficient evidence" to determine a violation knowingly occurred.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed by the club, but Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman previously reported that the contract would be worth $750,000 in salary and $625,000 in signing bonus, which means a cap hit of about $2.1 million. Friedman added that the contract has a full no-movement clause.

Earlier in the night, the NHL said its probe into whether or not Kane breached COVID-19 protocol during cross-border travel found "insufficient evidence" to conclusively determine he knowingly misrepresented his "COVID-19 status or test results in connection with international travel."

That investigation centred on Kane testing positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 21 and then flying to Vancouver on Dec. 29. At that time, Kane would have still been in the 10-day AHL COVID-19 protocol. When the San Jose Sharks terminated Kane's contract on Jan. 9, they said it was for “breach of his Standard Player Contract” and “violation of the AHL COVID-19 protocols.”

The NHL initially supported the Sharks' move, saying it was "satisfied the club has sufficient grounds to effectuate a termination." After his contract was terminated by the Sharks, the NHLPA filed a grievance on Kane's behalf. It was not immediately clear how the NHL's investigation into the cross-border travel situation would impact the grievance.

Whether or not the league would issue further discipline was among the final barriers to an NHL return for Kane, whose off-ice choices and controversies halted his professional hockey career for much of the season.

Before the season began, though, Kane was suspended for 21 games for the use of a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. When he was eligible to return, he joined the AHL's San Jose Barracudas, where he had eight points in five games.

The COVID-19 protocol-related issues have not been the only incidents in a controversy-laden stretch for Kane.

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.

The 30-year-old Kane had 22 goals and 22 assists for 44 points in 56 games last season for the Sharks. Kane also has played for the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise and Buffalo since being drafted by the Thrashers fourth overall in 2009.

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