The Chicago Blackhawks trade rumors floating around this season have been minimal, to say the least. But Patrick Kane’s injury might just be Chicago’s saving grace this season.
According to Spotrac.com, the Chicago Blackhawks currently sit at $62 million against the salary cap, hardly enough to rent a player for the postseason, let alone pick one up you want to keep the following year.
Despite this video by the front office staff where Vice President of Hockey Operations Al MacIsaac talked at length about what the Hawks do coming up on deadline and draft day, they clearly had no real plans to pick someone up at deadline.
So when Patrick Kane went down against the Florida Panthers Tuesday night, the Blackhawks were caught flat-footed.
Kane was caught a few feet away from the boards by a crosscheck to the back by Panthers’ Petrovic. While it wasn’t a particularly hard or egregious hit, its placement — only a few feet away from the boards — made it all the more dangerous for Kane. He lost an edge, or perhaps tapped Petrovic’s skate with his toe, and went down, hard.
Had the boards not been there, Kane would likely have been fine. Those barriers, however, are a lot harder than the players’ bodies are.
Kane left immediately with what looked like an injured shoulder, and never returned. It was confirmed during the game that he had sustained an injury to the left clavicle, and soon after that he would not return for anywhere between six to ten weeks.
As the clavicle is a bone that tends to heal very quickly, this suggests that Kane is either getting surgery to pin the bone in place, deal with injured ligaments, or possibly that his doctors are simply very, very cautious with a star athlete. Whatever the reason, Chicago is still facing down the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason without their top scorer.
UPDATE: Per the Blackhawks website, Kane will be out 12 weeks following today’s successful surgery.
Kane has had 27 goals and 37 assists in 61 games. He is ninth in the league in goals, and top-five in the league in points total. And it looks like his campaign for the Hart might be at an end for the season.
But, all is not lost for Chicago. As Bob McKenzie at TSN reminds us, this means the Blackhawks are no longer simply in the playoff race, but also the trade deadline race.
Now that CHI has Kane’s $6.3M cap hit available to “spend” I’d say ARI’s Antoine Vermette and CGY’s Curtis Glencross may be primary targets.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 26, 2015
Kane has a $6.3 million cap-hit that, now, is rendered moot for the rest of the season. The Hawks will end up pro-rating the remaining cap hit of Kane’s for the season, according to the CBA. And with there being no cap in the postseason, the Blackhawks have the ability to rent a player, as there are some limits to what they can do with a player on IR whose contract is not expiring.
As McKenzie mentions in the above tweet, Vermette is a great option for Chicago to rent to replace the problematic Andrew Shaw as 4C. Shaw, as has been noted across the blogosphere, is a good winger, and almost completely lacks a backcheck as a center. Vermette would be a good short-term solution for the Blackahwks, letting them put Shaw back on the wing and moving Carcillo to somewhere far, far away.
Andrej Sekera would have been another great choice, to give Chicago more weight at the blue line, something they’ve lacked this season as both Oduya and Rozsival continue to trend downwards. Sekera, however, went to the Kings earlier today.
Who do you think the Blackhawks should target for deadline?