Blackhawks Have 4 Good Maple Leaf Targets in Potential Kane Trade

Earlier this week, the Leafs Updates posted that Toronto Maple Leafs general manager (GM) Kyle Dubas and Chicago Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson “have had brief discussions surrounding Patrick Kane.” Although this report isn’t from a top NHL insider like Elliotte Friedman, it is still worth considering the possibility of Kane joining the Maple Leafs.

For the Maple Leafs to acquire Kane, they would need both the Blackhawks and a third team to help retain at least part of his expensive $10.5 million salary. Furthermore, the Buffalo native would, of course, need to accept a move to Toronto because of his no-movement clause (NMC). If they were to find a way to make this blockbuster happen, the Blackhawks would have some pretty good players to target from the Maple Leafs roster. Here are a few who might interest Davidson.

Alexander Kerfoot

One often-mentioned potential trade candidate this offseason has been Alexander Kerfoot. The 28-year-old is entering the final year of his contract, and the Maple Leafs may benefit from moving him instead of risking the possibility of losing him for nothing to free agency next summer.

Alexander Kerfoot Toronto Maple Leafs
Alexander Kerfoot, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Although the Blackhawks are rebuilding, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for them to bring in a player like Kerfoot. After losing players like Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, Kirby Dach, and Dylan Strome this offseason, they could use another forward, and Kerfoot would fit in perfectly in their top six, which might, in turn, help him produce more offensively.

Kerfoot would also be guaranteed to play on the Blackhawks’ power play and penalty kill, and if the Vancouver native has a big year with the Blackhawks, it would raise his value as a rental at the 2023 Trade Deadline. Therefore, Davidson could get even more assets in return to help with the team’s rebuild. Overall, there is a potential match here, but Kerfoot would also need to okay the move, as he has a 10-team no-trade list.

Rasmus Sandin

At the time of this writing, Rasmus Sandin is still a restricted free agent (RFA), and that’s unlikely to change quickly. Speaking with Luke Fox of Sportsnet, Sandin’s agent, Lewis Gross, bluntly stated that “negotiations are going nowhere.” This should be cause for concern about the 2018 first-round pick’s future with the Maple Leafs. As a result, it’s possible that Dubas would be willing to trade Sandin if it means landing Kane.

Related: Blackhawks Have 4 Good Oiler Targets in Potential Kane Trade

Sandin would have a top-four role upon his arrival in Chicago. The Blackhawks’ depth on the left-side defense isn’t particularly strong, and that could open the door for the 22-year-old to finally receive big-time minutes. He would also be a fit on either of their power-play units due to his excellent puck-moving ability, which could help him take that next step offensively.

Although Sandin has some NHL experience, he is still a perfect fit for the Blackhawks’ rebuild. He is only 22 years old and has plenty of time to reach his full potential. On a far weaker team like the Blackhawks, he would have a bigger opportunity to succeed.

Nick Robertson

As stated above, the Blackhawks’ forward depth has taken a major hit this offseason, and Davidson is likely looking to acquire at least one top forward prospect in any trade centering around Kane, and Toronto’s Nick Robertson would be an ideal target for the Blackhawks.

Nick Robertson Toronto Maple Leafs
Nick Robertson, Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images)

Many consider Robertson to have top-six potential, but he has also had trouble finding a permanent role at the NHL level. A mixture of injury trouble and the Maple Leafs’ immense forward depth is responsible for this, so perhaps the 20-year-old would benefit from a change of scenery. On a team like the Blackhawks, he would be given ample chances to reach his potential, as he already would be a fit in their top nine, at least.

Robertson just put together a promising season with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL), too. In 28 games, he scored a notable 16 goals and 28 points. That kind of production is impressive, and it seems possible that he could translate it to the NHL as he continues to gain experience. He should be considered a target if Davidson is interested in trading Kane to the Maple Leafs.

Matthew Knies

It’s hard to believe that Davidson wouldn’t have Matthew Knies on his wish list in a Kane trade. The 2021 second-round pick just put together an excellent freshmen season with the University of Minnesota. In 33 games, he scored 15 goals and 33 points. That kind of season has many believing that he could blossom into a top-six forward. Naturally, with the Blackhawks rebuilding, he’d be the kind of prospect they’d love to acquire.

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Knies has the potential to become a very effective power forward at the NHL level. He already has a strong physical game, but he also has the excellent skills to go along with it. He could make an immediate impact on the Blackhawks if acquired.

It’s unlikely that the Maple Leafs would be able to land both Knies and Robertson in a Kane blockbuster deal. Yet, Davidson landing one of them could be massive for their rebuild.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if Kane is traded to the Maple Leafs before the start of the 2022-23 season. There’s no question that he would provide them with another superstar, and he could be the final piece to help them win a Stanley Cup with their elite core. They have some excellent players worth considering, so the Blackhawks should consider them a viable trading partner.

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