San Jose Sharks place Evander Kane on waivers, plan to terminate contract for violating AHL COVID-19 protocols

The San Jose Sharks placed Evander Kane on waivers Saturday and told him they plan to terminate his contract for "breach" and for violating AHL COVID-19 protocols.

Other teams will have the opportunity to claim Kane in the next 24 hours. If he goes unclaimed, the Sharks will terminate the remainder of his deal, which carries a cap hit of $7 million through the 2024-25 season.

Kane's agent declined to comment to ESPN on Saturday. The NHLPA said in a statement it plans to file a grievance.

"We are aware of the San Jose Sharks' stated intent to terminate Evander Kane's contract," the statement said. "The NHLPA intends to challenge any such action by filing a grievance."

After serving a 21-game suspension for submitting a fake vaccination card, Kane was assigned to the AHL in November. The Sharks said Kane was fully vaccinated before being reinstated.

Kane, however, violated league rules by traveling home to Vancouver while he was in COVID protocol last month, sources said.

San Jose was trying to trade Kane over the past two months, sources told ESPN, as the team believed there was no longer a future with him on the roster given the fractured relationship. Several teams expressed interest in trading for Kane, according to sources, though talks never got past preliminary stages. The Sharks were willing to retain some of Kane's $7 million salary but were hoping to find a third-party team to retain even more, which would help facilitate a trade.

When signing Kane to the seven-year deal in 2018, the Sharks gave the winger a favorable no-trade clause: He submitted a list of three teams to which he can be traded. Kane was willing to waive the no-trade clause for other teams, according to sources, but only wanted to go to a team he believed had a chance to contend this year.

At the time of Kane's suspension, the NHL also was investigating allegations of domestic assault made by his estranged wife, Anna Kane, from a divorce filing. In announcing the 21-game suspension, the NHL said "its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, [Anna], could not be substantiated."

Kane also was accused by Anna Kane of betting on NHL games, including his own with the Sharks, whose outcomes she claimed he intentionally sought to influence for his benefit. The NHL investigated those claims and cleared Kane, saying it found no evidence that he bet on hockey.

Amid the investigations, Kane -- even before the suspension -- was told by the Sharks to not report to training camp. Sources told ESPN that multiple players on the Sharks do not want him to return to the team.

Kane, 30, did not practice with the team or interact with teammates at the facility during his suspension. He has played for three organizations since being drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers. He also had a stint in Buffalo before getting traded to the Sharks in 2018. Over 12 NHL seasons, Kane has played 769 games, scoring 264 goals and 506 points.

Kane had eight points in five games with the San Jose Barracuda.