EDMONTON – Evander Kane said he is unsure if he will play with the Edmonton Oilers next season.
“I thought it went really well [in Edmonton], probably even better than I expected to be honest, “Kane said Tuesday.” So I have nothing but good things to say on that. There’s so many different variables. We just finished the season yesterday, and there’s lots to sort through and figure out before I start thinking about that. “
The 30-year-old forward, who signed a one-year contract with the Oilers on Jan. 27 after having his contract terminated by the San Jose Sharks, can become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.
“I’ll go back to when I was in a similar, but very different, situation a few months ago, where I had the opportunity to kind of pick where I wanted to go, and Edmonton was interested in me and I was interested in them, “Kane said. “The way I looked at it is, you’ve got two of the best players in the world (Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid), you’ve got a team that wants to win now and is primed to win now.
“I’ve been very happy with my time here. The fans have been phenomenal, the people in the city have been phenomenal. This has got to be the best organization I’ve played for, so I have no complaints, and just like everybody else, I am looking forward to seeing what happens. “
Kane had 39 points (22 goals, 17 assists) in 43 regular-season games playing alongside McDavid on Edmonton’s top line. He also had 17 points, including an NHL-leading 13 goals, in 15 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs but was suspended for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final, when the Oilers were eliminated with a 6-5 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche .
“‘Kaner’ came in and did everything that was asked of him, for sure,” McDavid said. “It’s not my place. I do not sign the contracts and stuff like that, but Kaner came in and played great and did everything that was asked of him and then some. And you saw how he performed in the playoffs, and those are the type of guys you need. “
“I think guys like that [Kane] are rare, “Draisaitl said.” What did he score, 13 goals in the playoffs? By playing hard by doing it the right way. Those guys are hard to come by. Those are the guys that you can go on runs with, and those are the type of guys you’re going to win with, eventually. Like I said before, he was great, he was amazing off the ice, he was a great teammate, and obviously on the ice, he had a great year, and we’ll see what happens. ”
That’s high praise coming from Edmonton’s two best players, but it should not be surprising considering where the Oilers were prior to signing Kane this season.
On Jan. 27, they were 21-16-2, two points out of the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Coach Dave Tippett would get fired two weeks later, but Kane and the Oilers ended the regular season 28-11-4 to finish second in the Pacific Division.
Edmonton then went on to defeat the Los Angeles Kings in seven games in the first round and the Calgary Flames, the No. 1 seed from the Pacific, in five games in the second round to advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2006.
“I think we came a long way from where we were back in January,” Kane said. “It was a great opportunity for our group to understand what it takes to get this far and what it takes to get to a Cup Final. You look at the series (against Colorado), it was a sweep, but three of those games we had just as good a chance to win those games as they had. “
Along with Kane, there is also uncertainty surrounding the future of Mike Smith.
The 40-year-old goalie, who has one season remaining on a two-year, $ 4.4 million contract he signed on July 24, 2021, said it’s “too early to tell” when asked about rumors that he might retire.
“It’s hard to see where you’re going to be in the next two days, let alone four months from now,” Smith said. “So I think there’s a lot of things to deal with mentally and physically, and that doesn’t have to be decided in the next three minutes.”