Recently, NHL insider David Pagnotta reported that the Dallas Stars have expressed interest in Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane. At the time of this writing, the Stars still need to re-sign top restricted free agents (RFA) Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger, so it would be challenging for them financially to bring in Kane before the start of the 2022-23 campaign. Yet, with the future Hall of Famer being in the final year of his deal, this could be something that both teams explore before this upcoming season’s trade deadline passes.
Hearing the Blackhawks have been engaged in trade discussions with teams about Patrick Kane. Dallas among the teams most recently interested.— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) July 29, 2022
With the Blackhawks rebuilding, Kane would be a prime rental candidate if he elects to waive his no-movement clause (NMC). Chicago would likely want at least a first-round pick, top prospect, and young NHL-caliber player in any move centering around the veteran. Let’s take a look at a few potential trade targets from the Stars that the Blackhawks should pursue in a hypothetical Kane blockbuster.
Denis Gurianov is the young NHL forward who makes the most sense for the Blackhawks to target from the Stars. The 25-year-old winger is a former first-round pick who has shown glimpses in the past of being a quality second-liner. With the Blackhawks moving on from forwards like Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, and Dylan Strome this offseason, it’s clear that Gurianov would be an immediate fit in their top-six. This, in turn, would provide him with a bigger role and could help him take that next step offensively.
Gurianov is coming off of a down year, however. In 73 games during the 2021-22 season, he had 11 goals and recorded 31 points. That is not bad production in the slightest, but he also had 30 points in only 55 games the season before. Thus, he certainly is capable of providing more, and perhaps a move to the Blackhawks could allow that to occur. This is especially the case if he is utilized on Chicago’s top power-play unit.
If the Blackhawks are going to entertain offers for Kane, they need to swing for the fences with their asking price. Out of all the Stars’ prospects, Wyatt Johnston is easily the most appealing, as the 2021 first-round pick just had a truly dominant season with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). In 68 games, he led the entire Canadian Hockey League (CHL) with 124 points and won the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player. That kind of campaign is simply magnificent for the 19-year-old center, and many believe that he could be in the NHL as soon as this upcoming season because of it.
It is hard to determine if the Stars would be willing to part ways with Johnston, but he needs to be the first prospect the Blackhawks ask about in a Kane blockbuster. If acquired, he has the potential to be a long-term top-six center for Chicago, and that certainly would be a massive boost to their rebuild.
Thomas Harley is a young defenseman who seems to be getting closer to becoming a full-time NHL player. In 34 games with the Stars this past season, he scored a goal and recorded four points. Although he didn’t put up the kind of offensive numbers that fans were hoping for, he is still very young and has plenty of time to develop into a legitimate top-four defenseman. With the Blackhawks possessing a far weaker roster than the Stars, he would certainly have the opportunity to have a bigger role and play more minutes.
Harley’s future is quite bright, and he has shown signs in the past that he could blossom into a game-changing offensive defenseman. Although he only recorded 11 assists in 27 games with the Texas Stars during the 2021-22 season, he had 25 points in 38 contests with the American Hockey League (AHL) squad the year before. It will be intriguing to see if Harley can put together another strong year offensively during this upcoming season. Either way, the Blackhawks need to make him one of their big targets in any move involving Kane.
Mavrik Bourque is another center that the Blackhawks would have to consider pursuing in a Kane trade. The 2020 first-round pick has been noted for his excellent skill and high hockey IQ. The latter is an immensely appealing characteristic to have, and that’s especially the case when noting that he is still only 20 years old. As he continues to gain experience, this and his offensive talent should allow him to become a top-six center in the future.
Bourque spent this past season as captain of the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Overall, it was an excellent year for the Plessisville native, as he had 20 goals and 68 points in only 31 games. If he can translate that kind of offensive dominance to the professional level, he should be NHL-ready shortly. When looking at the Blackhawks’ forward group, he would already have a good chance of making their NHL roster, too. With all of this, he would have to be one of their primary targets.
Nevertheless, the Stars have some pretty appealing trade targets for the Blackhawks in a Kane blockbuster. There’s no question that all four of these players would be excellent additions to the club’s rebuild. Yet, as I stated above, any move involving the superstar forward would likely have to wait until the regular season due to the Stars having bigger needs to attend to right now. However, after hearing Pagnotta’s report, don’t be surprised to see the Stars and Blackhawks engage in trade talks near the 2023 Trade Deadline.
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.