SAN JOSE – Evander Kane attended his first training session with the Sharks’ organization in over five months on Tuesday. But instead of skating on the southern course at Solar4America Ice, where he was for over three seasons, Kane was on the northern course and practiced for the first time with the Sharks’ top minor league affiliate, Barracuda.
Shortly before training starts at At 10.15 Kane stepped onto the ice with Barracuda coach Roy Sommer and passed a handful of photographers and videographers on the road. He was in an unfamiliar yellow jersey instead of the white or blue-green training jerseys he wore with Sharks.
Kane’s linemates were also different. By the end of last season, Tomas Hertl, Alexander Barabanov and himself had formed the Sharks’ top line. On Tuesday, he was with Kyle Topping and Steenn Pasichnuk, two players at 26 and 22, respectively, who have NHL dreams but are on AHL contracts.
Kane and other Barracuda players listened intently to assistant coach Jimmy Bonneau as he explained an exercise right after the start of training. A few minutes later, fellow assistant Michael Chiasson explained another exercise. After all, the AHL is a development league.
Kane, a veteran of 769 NHL games, is the oldest player on the Barracuda list in 30 years. The second oldest is 28-year-old defender Jaycob Megna, but the majority of the players on the team are on entry-level contracts and are still trying to strengthen themselves in the Sharks’ organization.
Evander Kane steps on the ice for his first training session with the Barracuda pic.twitter.com/p7iJOwc0iE
– Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) November 30, 2021
Kane began his career as an 18-year-old in 2009 with the Atlanta Thrashers – just months after being drafted fourth overall – and has never played in an AHL match.
Sharks in Sunday’s placed Kane were on dispensations. He approved dispensations on Monday, and as he said he would do, he reported to Barracuda for its training on Tuesday at Sharks Ice.
That’s the first step in what the striker hopes will be a possible return to the NHL.
Kane’s 21 game exclusion for violating the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol officially ended after the Sharks’ game on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, and he will remain with Barracuda indefinitely.