Edmonton Oilers GM on speaking with agent for Evander Kane: 'I believe in second chances'

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland confirmed that he has spoken with the agent for Evander Kane, the controversial free-agent winger whose contract was terminated by the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

Holland said he has had conversations about Kane with agent Dan Milstein, who was also the agent for former Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk when Holland was GM in Detroit.

"As the manager, it's my responsibility to investigate every situation," Holland said.

Kane, 30, was in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49 million contract when the Sharks terminated the deal, saying they did it for breach of his NHL standard player contract and for violation of the AHL COVID-19 protocols. Sources told ESPN that Kane violated league rules by traveling home to Vancouver, British Columbia, while he was in COVID-19 protocols last month. The NHLPA has filed a grievance on behalf of Kane.

Controversy has followed Kane during his 12-year NHL career with the Atlanta Thrashers, Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres and in his four years with the Sharks. This season, he was investigated by the NHL after being accused by his estranged wife, Anna Kane, of domestic assault and of wagering on NHL games, including his own with San Jose. The NHL said the assault allegations "could not be substantiated" and found no evidence that he bet on hockey.

Kane was not invited to the Sharks' preseason training camp because of the investigations.

Later, he served a 21-game suspension for submitting a fake vaccination card to his team and the NHL, and he was demoted to the AHL after it was over.

Holland said in a case like Kane's, he does believe in second chances if they're deserved. "You need to get an understanding about everything that's gone on in that person's life. I believe in second chances. It's hard to be perfect," Holland said. "We're all people. Some make big mistakes, some make little mistakes. I think if somebody makes a mistake in their life, they have to try to learn from it and try to change."

ESPN's Kevin Weekes reported that "most contending teams" in the NHL have reached out about signing Kane. Despite his off-ice issues, Kane has scored over 20 goals in six consecutive seasons and had 49 points in 56 games with San Jose in 2020-21.

The Oilers are in need of a change. They're 18-14-2 (38 points) and outside of a playoff spot, having won only two of their last 13 games. Holland, who has never fired a coach in season, indicated that removing Dave Tippett was not in his plans.

"There have been seven coaches in 10 years. You can't just keep whipping through coaches," he said. "We're competing. We're just not winning."

He also wasn't keen on moving his first-round draft pick or top prospects for temporary help via trades. "I wouldn't do that. I think the answer's in our locker room," he said.

As a free agent, bringing in Kane wouldn't cost the Oilers any of those assets, but they would have to open up some cap space.

ESPN's Emily Kaplan contributed to this report.