Patrick Kane has played his entire professional career with the Chicago Blackhawks. Selected first overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, he was a full-time member of the team by the start of the 2007-08 season. The 2020-21 campaign will be his 14th in the NHL. A proven playoff performer, he now sets his sights on taking over the top spot in franchise history.
This is Kane’s 10th postseason. A major contributor throughout the franchise’s dynasty in the 2010s, he is among the elite few who captured all three Stanley Cups with Chicago in that decade.
Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook are the only other members of the current roster to be part of the exclusive club. All are legends after helping to make Chicago a championship hockey city once again.
In a League of His Own
However, Kane began to separate himself early in his career as a game-breaker like no other in franchise history. He’s a superstar who shows up when it matters most. In 2009-10, Kane’s third year in the league, he was already bringing a veteran presence to the lineup as he helped the Blackhawks hoist their first Stanley Cup since 1961.
The 21-year-old Kane accumulated 28 points in 22 games that postseason, including the Stanley Cup-winning goal in overtime of Game 6, which has since been named the NHL’s Goal of the Decade. If there was any question as to how special he was at that point, those playoffs removed all doubt.
What Kane would help the franchise accomplish between 2010-2015 is remarkable. His three Stanley Cup rings illustrate the pinnacle of those achievements, but his personal production deserves recognition.
Related: Stan Mikita – A True Chicago Legend
In those six years alone, he participated in 100 playoff contests, scoring 39 goals and 61 assists, including 10 game-winners, to make him a point-per-game player in that span. Capping off his 2013 Stanley Cup performance, Kane was awarded the Conn Smyth Trophy as playoff MVP.
Although those numbers highlight the peak playoff years of Kane’s career so far, he’s accumulated more. He continually maintains his spot as a top point-producer in the league.
Having now played in 135 postseason matches, he’s already tallied 51 goals and 80 assists which ranks third on Chicago’s all-time playoff stats list, behind Denis Savard (145 points) and Stan Mikita (150 points).
Entering his 14th year as a 31-year-old it might seem like his production would slow down. Yet, Kane has defied that trend and there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue to surprise with his prolific performances.
Perennial Playoff Appearances
Committed to the Blackhawks until the end of the 2022-23 season, Kane can be part of at least three more playoff pushes. That depends on whether his team can help him get that chance. The Blackhawk missed the playoffs completely in 2018 and 2019 but found their way back in this season’s different playoff format.
Chicago was the 12th seed going into their qualifying round and battled against the 5th place Edmonton Oilers to earn their spot in the 16-team Stanley Cup Playoffs. Perhaps this will propel them back to being consistent contenders again.
If the Blackhawks can build off of their recent resurgence, they might be able to continue reaching the playoffs in each of Kane’s remaining seasons on his current deal. This would grant him the opportunity to keep working his way towards a new page in Chicago’s history book.
2020 Postseason Production
Maintaining his point-per-game pace, Kane has already accumulated eight points in as many contests throughout this postseason. With more left to play in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Kane has an opportunity to close the gap. Every new puck drop presents him with an opportunity to make his mark.
Being held off the scoresheet for the remainder of this postseason is unlikely. However, if that ends up being the case, he would enter next year’s playoffs 15 points away from taking over second place on the all-time list and 20 points shy of the top.
It Takes a Full Team Effort
Kane needs to average just under seven points over the next three postseasons to become Chicago’s all-time leader. A feat that’s easily attainable as long as he plays.
For as much as he’s helped bring his team to heights they would never have otherwise achieved, it’s time they repay the favour. The Blackhawks should do whatever it takes to help him reach more playoff competition. Of course, they should do so for the franchise first and foremost, but it’s not a bad thing if they can use Kane as extra motivation.
The Blackhawks have an interesting mix of proven veteran leaders alongside youthful talent that continues to develop. Not heavily swayed one way or the other at any given time, it’s been challenging for the team to strategize in recent seasons. Luckily, they seemed to have found their synergy through the latter half of 2019-20.
If they progress and continue to grow together, they can bookmark their spot in future postseasons, and simply being involved means Kane gets his chance to reach new heights.
It would be difficult to see Kane in any other jersey and it seems likely that Chicago will work to re-sign him when this contract is up. Hopefully, by that time, he’ll already be the franchise’s postseason leader.
If not, then we can wish that he re-commits for at least as many years as it will take him to achieve that milestone. Kane has already done enough to justify his untouchable reputation with the Blackhawks. As the epitome of what it means to be a playoff producer, he deserves to sit atop that list.