The NHLPA filed a grievance on behalf of Evander Kane after the San Jose Sharks terminated the veteran forward's contract Sunday.
Kane, 30, was in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49 million contract that paid him $7 million annually. Kane will forfeit $22.8 million from the remainder of the deal. NHL contracts are guaranteed.
The Sharks terminated the contract after Kane cleared waivers, saying they did it for a breach of his contract and for violating AHL COVID-19 protocols.
Kane's agent, Dan Milstein, declined to comment to ESPN, but tweeted on Saturday: "The Sharks do not have sufficient grounds for taking this action."
After serving a 21-game suspension for submitting a fake vaccination card, Kane was assigned to the AHL in November. The Sharks said Kane was fully vaccinated before being reinstated.
Kane, however, violated league rules by traveling home to Vancouver while he was in COVID-19 protocol last month, sources said. There could be other violations as well.
San Jose was trying to trade Kane over the past two months, sources told ESPN, as the team believed there was no longer a future with him on the roster given the fractured relationship. Several teams expressed interest in trading for Kane, according to sources, though talks never got past preliminary stages. The Sharks were willing to retain some of Kane's $7 million salary but were hoping to find a third-party team to retain even more, which would help facilitate a trade.
At the time of Kane's suspension, the NHL also was investigating allegations of domestic assault made by his estranged wife, Anna Kane, from a divorce filing. In announcing the 21-game suspension, the NHL said "its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, [Anna], could not be substantiated."
Kane also was accused by Anna Kane of betting on NHL games, including his own with the Sharks, whose outcomes she claimed he intentionally sought to influence for his benefit. The NHL investigated those claims and cleared Kane, saying it found no evidence that he bet on hockey.
Amid the investigations, Kane -- even before the suspension -- was told by the Sharks to not report to training camp. Sources told ESPN that multiple players on the Sharks do not want him to return to the team.
Kane was the No. 4 pick of the 2009 NHL draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. He also had a stint in Buffalo before getting traded to the Sharks in 2018. Over 12 NHL seasons, Kane has played 769 games, scoring 264 goals and 506 points. He had eight points in five games with the San Jose Barracuda.