NHL insider Elliotte Friedman recently reported that the Chicago Blackhawks have been receiving calls regarding star forward Patrick Kane and his availability. This came immediately after general manager Kyle Davidson officially stated that the team is going to begin a legitimate rebuild. Naturally, teams will express a lot of interest if the 33-year-old winger is officially made available by the team. However, at this juncture, that has yet to be determined. Thus, they have a major decision to make when it comes to his future with the organization.
At this point in his career, Kane is still an immensely talented player. The truth is in his statistics. In 51 games this campaign, he has 17 goals to go along with 38 assists. When seeing as how he is once again a point-per-game player, the Blackhawks would be able to receive a lot in return for him. The real question is whether or not it’s right to trade one of the franchise’s greatest players.
Trading Kane Would Be True Beginning of Massive Changes
Although Davidson noted that the team is beginning a rebuild, we may not necessarily see that right away. It’s been reported that Marc-Andre Fleury is likely to stay put, and he’s their biggest rental candidate. When it comes to the others, none of them have the potential to bring in a game-changing return. Out of the bunch, Calvin de Haan has been getting the most interest, but he is likely not worth more than a third-round pick.
Although trading Jonathan Toews would spark a massive change, it’s unlikely to happen even if he becomes open to a move. The 33-year-old’s offensive numbers have dropped off dramatically this season, as he has just four goals and 15 assists in 44 games. After missing the entirety of last season, it’s understandable, but it does make his $10.5 million cap hit nearly impossible to move. Therefore, Kane is the big-name veteran who they would trade to make any seismic changes to their core. Any move involving him would feel like a true beginning to the rebuild.
Kane Won’t Be Traded this Season
Although teams are calling about Kane right now, it’s extremely unlikely that the Blackhawks will trade him before the deadline. Friedman noted that the team will instead have discussions about his future with the organization, and his future is more of a summer decision. That makes complete sense, as the Buffalo native’s contract doesn’t expire until the end of next season and has a $10.5 million cap hit. Even though he is worth every penny, it is still an expensive enough contract that will be a bit hard to move during the regular season.
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It’s also important to note that Kane also has a no-movement clause. Therefore, he has complete control over if he will be traded by the team or not. Thus, an honest conversation between him and the Blackhawks is a true necessity. That’s the only way for these potential trade talks to have any chance of moving forward. Even if a team sends them a jaw-dropping offer right now, they will not be able to accept it without the star’s approval.
Trading Kane Has Potential to Benefit Rebuild
With Kane still being a superstar at this point of his career, his trade value is very high. He is easily among the top wingers in the sport, and every other NHL franchise would love to acquire him. Thus, if the Blackhawks were to trade him, it would be immensely beneficial to their rebuild. At a minimum, they would have the potential to land a first-round pick, top prospect, and young player for him. That’s been the standard ask for top players on the market this deadline season, keep in mind.
Furthermore, when looking at the Blackhawks’ roster, Kane is arguably the player who carries the most value. Although Alex DeBrincat would certainly be able to bring in a large haul, it would be very surprising if the 24-year-old is not a part of their upcoming rebuild. However, when it comes to the former, he is old enough that one can put a strong argument to move him.
It Still Doesn’t Feel Right to Trade Kane
If the Blackhawks want to embark on a legitimate rebuild, Kane is the kind of star who they will at least consider moving. Yet, when looking at how marvelous his tenure with the team has been, the idea of trading him doesn’t feel right. Since being selected first overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, he has done far more than anyone could have asked of him. In 1,080 career games with the team, he has 421 goals, 722 assists, and 1,143 points. He is also the superstar forward who led them to three Stanley Cups. With that, he has a Conn Smythe Trophy, Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award all on his resume. It’s simply been an outstanding run for him with Chicago.
Putting all his wonderful accomplishments aside, it also feels strange to move him because he’s been with the Blackhawks for so long. At this juncture, he is on the verge of completing his 15th season with them. It isn’t very common to see a player stay with one franchise for such a lengthy amount of time. That alone makes the idea of him in another team’s jersey extremely weird to think about. Even if he eventually states that he is open to being dealt, all of this still makes Davidson’s decision a very difficult one.
It will be interesting to see how things develop for the Blackhawks in not only this scenario but also the entirety of their rebuild. Throughout the NHL’s history, we have seen some excellent ones and others that have been disasters. Yet, whether he’s traded or not, Kane’s time with the organization will never be forgotten. He’s one of the greatest to ever play with the franchise.