The Washington Capitals are embroiled in a battle with their traditional rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins, for a top-three spot in the Metro Division. That part isn’t news, nor has it been for the last 15 years, but Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman dropped a little bombshell on the Capitals universe on Saturday night.
According to the Sportsnet reporter, the Capitals are among the teams considering a contract offer to embattled forward Evander Kane.
Kane, 30, is battling the NHL and the San Jose Sharks after San Jose terminated his contract earlier this month because he crossed the Canadian border in defiance of COVID restrictions. Kane tested positive on Dec. 21. In December, the COVID protocol required a 10-day isolation period.
Kane allegedly crossed the border on Dec. 29. This season, the NHL also suspended the forward for the first 21 games for submitting fake vaccine paperwork. After his suspension, the San Jose Sharks banished him to their AHL affiliate, the San Jose Barracuda.
After the Dec. 29 incident, San Jose terminated his contract with NHL approval. However, Kane and the NHLPA filed a grievance.
Friedman reported the NHL investigation into Kane’s actions could finish this week, at which point it appears several teams might pounce.
Kane has 78 goals over the last three seasons.
“We’re still awaiting (the NHL) decision, but another team that has discussed it, and at least considered it, are the Washington Capitals,” Friedman said during Hockey Night in Canada. “… There’s nothing done. No contract, nothing like that, but the Capitals are another team–in addition to the Oilers–who have looked into this.”
Kane would immediately add depth to the Capitals lines, which have relied on Conor Sheary, Daniel Sprong, and rookies in varying roles this season.
The Edmonton Oilers are widely believed to be an interested suitor. Both Edmonton GM Ken Holland and captain Connor McDavid said they believed in second chances when asked about the Kane situation.
“I believe in second chances. It’s hard to be perfect… we’re all people. We all make mistakes,” Holland told the Edmonton media.
“Some make big mistakes, some make little mistakes, but it’s hard to be perfect.”
The NHL could resolve the situation this week, and Kane can sign with the highest bidder. According to PuckPedia.com, the Capitals have just over $2 million in current cap space. Anthony Mantha is currently on LTIR, and T.J. Oshie is on IR.
On Saturday night, the Capitals scored three unanswered goals to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in OT. The win tied them with Pittsburgh at 55 points for third place, but Pittsburgh has two games in hand.