As we get closer to the 2023 Trade Deadline, the Chicago Blackhawks are arguably going to be the biggest team to watch. After all, general manager (GM) Kyle Davidson has begun the team’s full-on rebuild, and they have several notable pending unrestricted free agents (UFA) who are likely going to be on the move because of it.
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The Edmonton Oilers, on the other hand, have a 28-18-4 record and are looking to bring in talent to help their chances of winning their first Stanley Cup since 1990. As a result, they reportedly have the Blackhawks’ biggest star on their radar, so there’s a chance that we could see these two clubs strike a blockbuster at the deadline. Let’s now take a deeper look at why.
It’s Time for Chicago to Move Kane
Patrick Kane is the Blackhawks’ biggest rental candidate, and there’s a very good chance that we will see the future Hall of Famer moved because of it. Although he has a full no-movement clause (NMC), it seems quite likely that he will waive it for the opportunity to play meaningful hockey again. Furthermore, he is also the Blackhawks’ top trading asset, so he would be doing his team a major solid by accepting a move elsewhere.
Although Kane has been garnering a lot of trade interest around the league, his statistics are a bit down this season. In 45 games, he has nine goals, 25 assists, and a minus-26 rating. This drop in production is certainly due to the limited talent around him, so being traded to a legitimate contender would likely lead to his offense skyrocketing again. This is especially true if he’s dealt to a club that possesses an offense-first system.
According to The Fourth Period, the Oilers are one of the many teams linked to Kane, and it ultimately makes sense. They are in win-now mode, and bringing in another star forward could be the move that allows them to make a legitimate push for the Stanley Cup this spring.
Kane Could Be Final Piece of Puzzle for Oilers
When looking at the Oilers’ roster, it is clear that they could use another legitimate star like Kane on their roster. Although they have gotten a ton of production from Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Zach Hyman, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, their offense noticeably drops off from there. As a result, bringing in a star like Kane could provide them with the final piece of the puzzle as they aim to win the Stanley Cup this spring.
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When looking at Edmonton’s forward group, it is clear that Kane would provide them with several potential options. I could see him fitting beautifully on the top line with Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman. Yet, a trio of him, Leon Draisaitl, and Evander Kane could be truly lethal and would make their top six significantly better. With that, the Buffalo native would of course see plenty of time on their power play. Playing with so many offensively-gifted forwards should also be enough for him to produce at an over a point-per-game pace again.
Although the Oilers would also benefit from bringing in another defenseman, there are plenty of reasons why they should be also aiming to acquire another star forward. On paper, Kane looks like a perfect fit, so it is understandable why the Oilers are considering the prospect of completing a blockbuster centering around him.
Potential Blockbuster Trade Between Blackhawks & Oilers
If the Oilers want to successfully win the Kane sweepstakes, they will first need to send their 2023 first-round pick to Chicago. With that, a notable prospect like Reid Schaefer would need to be added to the deal. To help things work out financially, the Oilers would need to include former first-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi ($3 million cap hit). With that, the Blackhawks could also take on Warren Foegele’s bad contract ($2.75 million cap hit until 2023-24), but that would force Edmonton to add their 2023 third-round pick to the deal. Chicago would of course need to retain half of Kane’s salary.
Schaefer is exactly the kind of promising prospect that the Blackhawks would love to get their hands on. The 2022 first-round pick is having an excellent season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL), as he has 19 goals and 33 points in 31 contests. Yet, besides being a strong contributor offensively, he also has made a notable impact with his immensely physical style of play. As a result, the 6-foot-3 winger offers a bit of everything, so he could become a big part of Chicago’s future core if acquired.
Puljujarvi is a player who desperately needs a change of scenery, and a move to Chicago could provide him with the spark that helps him find his old form. After recording a 36-point campaign in 65 games last season, he has just 10 points in 49 games this season. A move to the Blackhawks would give him the chance to play top-six minutes again, and it could be exactly what leads to his production going back up. As for Foegele, he would give the Blackhawks another bottom-six forward, but they more importantly would get a sweetener from Edmonton for taking on his contract.
Nevertheless, it is clear that the Blackhawks certainly have a promising trading partner here with the Oilers. Chicago would land some quality assets for their rebuild, while Kane would have the chance to play for a true contender. As a result, this move would have the potential to be a winning situation for all involved. Let’s see if these two Western Conference teams strike a deal centering around Kane from here.