Kane, Wilson, Kniazev & More

In this edition of San Jose Sharks News & Rumors, Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over the termination of his contract took place today, although it is unclear at this time when the proceedings will end. In other news, a ceremony scheduled for this Saturday to honor former general manager Doug Wilson upon his induction into the Hall of Fame has been postponed. Moving on to the hockey side of things, potential Artemi Kniazev is said to have made good progress in his first season as a pro with the San Jose Barracuda. Finally, the Sharks announced Tuesday afternoon that they have signed free-agent goaltender Strauss Mann for a year.

Kane’s grievance hearing underway

Immediately after the Sharks terminated Kane’s contract in early January, the NHLPA filed a complaint on behalf of the 30-year-old. While the launch took some time, the hearing is officially underway Tuesday morning. According to The Athletic, it’s not clear when the trial will end, but a decision won’t be made today (from ‘Oilers’ Evander Kane begins Sharks contract grievance hearing in New York City: source,’ the athlete04/19/22).

Evander Kane, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kane, who played part of four seasons with the Sharks, had his contract terminated for failing to follow COVID-19 protocols while playing for the Barracuda. Shortly thereafter, he signed a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers and has adapted well to his new club, scoring 16 goals and 31 points in 37 games so far.

Wilson’s Hall of Fame ceremony postponed

Last November, Wilson received a well-deserved honor when he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 64-year-old had a stellar career playing his last two seasons with the Sharks. In 1,024 career games, he has 237 goals and 827 points, numbers that are extremely impressive for anyone, let alone a defender.

Related: Sharks want to compete with a new general manager

As anyone reading this will know, after retiring from the game, he became general manager of the Sharks, a position he was hired for in May 2003. Unfortunately, he was recently forced to resign due to health problems, which means that a ceremony intended to congratulate him this Saturday, April 23, has been postponed. (from ‘Curtis Pashelka: Sharks Postpones Weekend Ceremony Honoring Former GM Doug Wilson’, The reporter04/19/22).

The good news is that the ceremony is expected to take place next season, as Wilson expects to be able to attend in person. By the sounds of things, he’s making progress in his recovery from an undisclosed health problem. Expect the organization to announce sometime this summer when a ceremony will be held to recognize his fantastic playing career.

Kniazev completes the game with Barracuda

In the 2019 draft, the Sharks chose Kniazev with their second-round pick (48th overall). In doing so, they took an offensive defenseman who had just finished his rookie season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He played two more seasons in the OHL before turning pro for the 2021-22 season.

Artemi Kniazev San Jose Sharks design
Artemi Kniazev, San Jose Sharks, NHL Draft 2019 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A quick look at his stats would make it seem like he’s struggling at a professional level, but according to his head coach, Roy Sommer, that’s not the case.

“He still has a long way to go before he becomes an NHLer, but I think he’s going in the right direction,” Sommer said. “He collects points. He directs our first power play, which has been pretty productive all season.

“I think he’s made a lot of progress. He plays much more comfortably and now plays with confidence.

To this point, Kniazev has played in 57 games with the Barracuda. As Sommer said, he’s producing since he has 26 points on the season. However, what strikes many is the fact that it has a plus/minus rating of -46 on the year. While that may seem worrisome, that probably reflects his team more than his personal game, as the Barracuda are currently the worst team in the American Hockey League with a record of 20-39-6. As the team improves next season, you can expect their plus/minus to increase as well.

Man signs one-year contract

On Tuesday afternoon, the Sharks announced that she and Mann had agreed to a one-year contract. The 23-year-old spent last season in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) after failing to find a connection to an NHL club after his college career. In 22 games this season with Skelleftea, he has recorded a solid 2.19 goals against average (GAA) along with a 0.914 saving rate (SV%).

“Strauss is a fast, athletic goalie with [a] A history of leadership and success exemplified by being named the University of Michigan’s first goalie captain in 78 years,” said Shin Larsson, Sharks’ head of European scouting. “He followed his successful collegiate career with a strong season for Skelleftea in the SHL and represented Team USA at the last Olympics. We look forward to adding a quality goalkeeper and person to our organization.”

As noted by Larsson, Mann was able to play for Team USA at the 2022 Winter Olympics. In two games of the tournament, he compiled an extremely impressive 1.85 GAA along with 0.945 SV%. Although this is a small sample size, he did very well for Skelleftea in his first season as a pro and had a string of great seasons for the University of Michigan. This is a very low risk, high reward organization signing.

Next for the sharks

The Sharks have four games scheduled this week, the first of which is on Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. You will then see the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. To wrap up their week, Sunday will see an away game against the Vegas Golden Knights, a team currently fighting for their lives in the playoffs.

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