The Sharks officially re-signed pending free agent Evander Kane to a seven-year contract extension on Thursday, the team announced.
"At only 26 years old, Evander has established himself as one of hockey's true power forwards and an impact player," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said in a statement. "We think his abilities mesh perfectly with our group of skilled, young players and veteran leaders. It's extremely heartening to have Evander join a trend of elite players who have chosen to remain in San Jose. It speaks volumes as to how players view this organization and further illustrates the continued commitment to our fans by our owner Hasso Plattner."
The deal reportedly carries a cap hit of $7 million annually, according to The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun and confirmed by CapFriendly, making Kane San Jose's highest-paid player. He's now the seventh player on the roster with some kind of no-trade clause in his contract, according to CapFriendly, and Kane's modified no-trade clause allows him to submit a list of three teams he can be traded to.
Kane made an immediate impact upon his arrival in San Jose. He scored 14 points (nine points, five assists) in 17 regular season games with the Sharks, and scored an additional five (four goals, one assist) in nine playoff games during his first postseason appearance. Between Buffalo and San Jose, he scored 54 points (29 goals, 25 assists) in 78 regular season games, the second-highest and highest marks of his career, respectively.
He hit the 20-goal mark for the third consecutive season, which was a career-first, and his 53 five-on-five goals over the last three years are tied-for-13th among forwards, according to Corsica Hockey. Kane also generated qualtiy chances during that span, and his five-on-five expected goals rate (0.87 per hour) ranks 28th among all skaters that played at least 500 minutes in the last three seasons.
The 26-year-old told The Athletic's Kevin Kurz that he played through a separated shoulder and MCL injury in the playoffs. Before this year, Kane had never played more than 75 games in a season, and had reached the 70-game threshold four times in the first eight years of his career.
The Sharks acquired Kane at the trade deadline, trading forward Danny O'Regan, a conditional first-round pick in 2019, and a conditional mid-round pick in 2019 or 2020 to the Sabres. The former is now a first-round pick because Kane re-signed, while San Jose general manager Doug Wilson will have to decide next year if he wants to give up a fourth rounder in 2019 or a third rounder in 2020.
At the trade deadline, the Sharks were Kane's only "legitimate" suitor, according to Sabres general manager Jason Botterill. That was, perhaps in part, because of Kane's past.
He was accused of sexual assault in 2015, but ultimately did not face charges. Charges, including harassment, stemming from a separate incident in 2016 with two women and a bouncer at a Buffalo bar were eventually dismissed.
"Getting to know him over these last few months he's a great teammate," Couture said at the time. "He cares and he wants to win. He was fun to play with."
Kane is now the third player Wilson has signed to contract lasting at least seven years during the last 18 months. Wilson locked up Brent Burns to an eight-year, $64 million extension in Nov. 2016, and Vlasic to an eight-year, $56 million extension last July. Prior to that, Milan Michalek's 2007 contract extension was the only deal for six years or longer.
"That's just the landscape of what's taken place in this league in the last two [or] three years and how contracts are structured for high-end players." Wilson told reporters when Vlasic re-signed last summer. "Whether you like it or not, that's just the reality of it. [In order] to keep Brent Burns, or Marc-Edouard Vlasic...you have to accept that and do what's necessary in that framework."
Although he was acquired at the deadline, Kane was eligible to sign an extension at the maximum length of eight years like Burns and Vlasic, as he was added to San Jose's reserve list in time, according to CapFriendly. Kane, Burns, Vlasic, and goaltender Martin Jones are the only San Jose players signed beyond 2020, and Vlasic's the only player signed past 2025.
Couture and captain Joe Pavelski are among the players eligible to sign contract extensions as soon as July 1. Joe Thornton, Eric Fehr, Jannik Hansen, and Joel Ward are the team's remaining unrestricted free agents this summer. Dylan DeMelo, Tomas Hertl, and Chris Tierney are likely due raises as the only pending restricted free agents in the organization.