The trade deadline is just about a month away, and all eyes are on the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks because of it. After announcing the start of their full-on rebuild last season, the Blackhawks currently have a 15-29-4 record and only the Columbus Blue Jackets have fewer points. As a result, they are going to be clear sellers at the deadline, and they have several players who could be dealt like Jonathan Toews, Max Domi, and Jake McCabe. Yet, they have no bigger trade target than franchise legend Patrick Kane.
Although Kane has had a bit of a down year for his standards (nine goals and 34 points in 45 games), there’s no question that a major reason behind it is the Blackhawks’ weaker roster. It appears that contenders are well-aware of this, as The Fourth Period has reported that there are currently seven teams in the Kane sweepstakes. Let’s discuss them now.
Kane Heading East?
Out of the seven teams currently linked to Kane, four of them are in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, and New York Islanders all want to acquire the star forward.
Even after a three-game losing streak, the Bruins still have a 38-7-5 record and are nine points ahead of the second-place Carolina Hurricanes. Due to this, they are expected to go all-in at the deadline and could very well bring in a star like Kane. He would provide them with another quality weapon in their top six and could be utilized on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand if acquired.
The Islanders’ lack of scoring is hurting them immensely this season. Although they have a 25-22-5 record and are still in the playoff race, they have won just three out of their last 10 games. This is not going to help their playoff chances, so bringing in a star winger like Kane could be exactly what provides them with the spark to pass teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
Kane has been linked to the Rangers all season, as many hockey fans want to see him reunited with fellow star winger Artemi Panarin. However, it is also clear that there is a fit here because the Rangers’ top six could surely use a major boost. Although Jimmy Vesey has had a strong season with the Rangers this year, there is no question that Kane would be a significant upgrade over him on the first line with Panarin and Mika Zibanejad.
As for the Maple Leafs, they have a very deep roster, but bringing in Kane would only make it stronger. He could take over Calle Jarnkrok’s spot on the second line and could work beautifully with John Tavares and William Nylander. Furthermore, with the Maple Leafs looking to break their first-round curse, acquiring a star who has won three Stanley Cups could lead to doing just that.
Kane Staying West?
There is also a chance that Kane could stay in the Western Conference if he is traded, as the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and Edmonton Oilers each are expressing interest in the future Hall of Famer.
After winning the Stanley Cup last year, the Avalanche have a 27-18-3 record and are tied with the Calgary Flames for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Their injury trouble made them start the season slowly, but they have been picking it up, as they have won seven out of their last 10 games. Yet, it is clear that they would benefit from strengthening their top six before the deadline passes, and acquiring Kane would of course do just that. On paper, he could work beautifully on the top line with Artturi Lehkonen and Nathan MacKinnon.
The Dallas Stars have truly had a fantastic season, as they possess a 28-13-10 record and are at the top of the Central Division. Due to this, they are expected to be major buyers, and an area that needs improvement is their forward group. When looking at a potential fit for Kane, it is apparent that he would be a great addition to their second line playing with Mason Marchment and Tyler Seguin.
The Oilers, on the other hand, could certainly use another star right winger with their current group. At the time of this writing, Derek Ryan is currently playing on the second line with Evander Kane and Leon Draisaitl. Kane (Patrick) would clearly be a major boost over him if utilized on that line, and he could create real magic playing with a superstar center like Draisaitl.
Will Kane Be Moved?
It is clear that several teams are hoping to acquire Kane, and more clubs are likely to join the sweepstakes before March 3 passes. However, just because the Buffalo native is understandably receiving a plethora of interest around the league does not automatically mean that he will be moved. The veteran has a full no-movement clause (NMC), so he has complete control over if and where he will be traded.
Yet, I certainly could see him electing to accept a move elsewhere, as a trade would provide him with the opportunity to play meaningful hockey again. With Kane being 34 years old, it is fair to say that he is in the second half of his career, and he would likely want to spend it with a contender rather than a team that is expected to be in a rebuild for five-plus years.
Furthermore, with Kane being the Blackhawks’ top trading asset, it would be very beneficial for them to move him. Although the prospect of trading such a historical franchise figure may be controversial to some, it also is worth consideration because they could land excellent assets for the future by doing so.
Nevertheless, it is clear that Kane is a hot commodity on the trade market right now. We will need to wait and see if the Blackhawks end up striking a blockbuster centering around Kane with one of these seven clubs from here.
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