While on The Jeff Marek Show, Elliotte Friedman reported that the New York Rangers are one of the teams who have called the Chicago Blackhawks about the availability of Patrick Kane. However, he also noted that any move involving the superstar forward would not occur until the summer. The team is planning to have a conversation with him about his future with the organization during the offseason. This is a necessity before any potential move because he has a full no-movement clause (NMC). Yet, if the 33-year-old does inform them that he doesn’t want to be a part of their rebuild, the Rangers could be an ideal destination for both parties.
Friedman on The Jeff Marek Show:— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) March 11, 2022
It’s been reported and I think it’s true that Colorado has asked about (Patrick) Kane and I think the Rangers have too.
I think those are probably, PROBABLY, summer decisions.
When looking at how excellent of a player Kane still is, it would cost the Rangers a lot in a blockbuster. At a minimum, they would have to give up a first-round pick, at least one top prospect, and a young, NHL-ready player. Although that is a high asking price, the Rangers can certainly pay it. Furthermore, acquiring the Buffalo native would make it entirely worth it if it meant winning the Stanley Cup in 2022. Let’s look at some players the Blackhawks could be interested in.
Vitali Kravtsov has been in the rumor mill since he refused to report to the Rangers’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack at the beginning of this season. Seeing as how he plays right wing just like Kane, he could be the prospect who intrigues the Blackhawks most in a hypothetical move. He is viewed as having top-six potential and could very well be ready to be a full-time NHL player next season.
Kravtsov is currently playing for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). It’s been a strong season for the 22-year-old winger, as he has six goals and seven assists in 19 contests. This is a noticeable improvement from just last season, as he recorded 24 points but in 49 games with the team. When remembering that he also wants to move on from the Rangers, they would likely be willing to trade him if it results in them getting a superstar like Kane.
Braden Schneider is another prospect who certainly would be a great addition to the Blackhawks’ rebuild. The 20-year-old has gotten his first taste of NHL action this season and hasn’t looked out of place at all. In 22 games, he has one goal to go along with four assists. He also has played very well with the Wolf Pack this campaign, too, as he has nine assists in 24 contests. One may look at his offensive numbers and not be too impressed, but he is more noted for his excellent defensive play and a strong degree of physicality.
Schneider’s overall reliability at such a young age is another reason why he is viewed as having top-four potential. He showed that during his time with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL), and it is already beginning to translate over to the NHL. This was expected, though, as he won the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s defenseman of the year last season. With all of this, if the Blackhawks end up exploring the possibility of moving Kane to the Rangers, there’s no question that this young defenseman will be one of their targets.
The Rangers have another interesting right-handed rookie defenseman in Nils Lundkvist. There was a lot of hype following him when he came to North America this season because he just had a marvellous campaign with Lulea HF of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). In 52 games, he scored an impressive 14 goals and added 18 assists. With these kinds of numbers, he scored the most goals by a defenseman under 21 years old in SHL history and went on to win the Salming Trophy because of it.
With all of this, there’s no question that Lundkvist has the potential to be a very effective offensive defenseman in the NHL. However, it may take the 21-year-old a little bit of time before he becomes one. In 25 games this season with the Rangers, he has one goal, three assists, and a plus-4 rating. He is back with the Wolf Pack at this juncture, however, and has recorded 13 points in 25 games. If the Blackhawks want a more offensively-driven defenseman in a potential swap, he would be their guy over Schneider.
If the Blackhawks want a young roster player in a Kane trade, one who immediately comes to mind is Filip Chytil. The 2017 first-round pick has shown signs of having top-six potential but is also having a down year. In 47 games, he has six goals, nine assists, and a minus-3 rating. To put things into better perspective, he had 22 points in 42 games last season and seemed to be ready to take that next big step. Yet, that has not come to fruition.
Chytil’s name has been occasionally brought up in the rumor mill, and he certainly is a player who could benefit from a change of scenery. With the Rangers’ current forward depth, it’s hard for him to find a permanent spot in their top six. However, when looking at the Blackhawks’ roster, he would have a far better chance of landing a more prominent role. That, in turn, could be enough to finally help him reach his full potential.
Alas, it will be interesting to see what decision the Blackhawks and Kane make about his future. With general manager Kyle Davidson stating that the team is planning to begin a full-on rebuild, it could be enough for the superstar to accept a move elsewhere. If so, it’s hard to imagine a better fit for him than the Rangers. They have the prospect pool to complete a blockbuster and could use one more star on their roster. It also doesn’t hurt that he has experience playing with Artemi Panarin, either.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.