Oilers Don’t Need Patrick Kane, They Need Another Defenseman

The Edmonton Oilers have had a busy offseason so far in an attempt to establish a Stanley Cup contender, and a name that’s been mentioned that the Oilers have kicked tires on is Chicago Blackhawks’ superstar forward Patrick Kane.

Kane has one season left on his contract that carries a cap hit of $10.5 million AAV, but he is only owed $2.9 million in actual salary. Oilers Colour Commentary and host of “Oilers Now,” Bob Stauffer, depicted a scenario in which the Oilers can fit Kane’s salary under their salary cap. He described a layout where Chicago retains 50 percent of his cap hit and actual salary, and Edmonton finds another team to retain a portion of the salary as well in a trade deadline deal. He reiterated that Chicago will be in a position to move Kane throughout the year and enticed Oilers fans by saying, “You know what sounds better than Connor McDavid with Evander Kane? Connor McDavid with Evander Kane and Patrick Kane.”

Additionally, the Hockey Writers’ Jim Parsons recently wrote that the Oilers inquired about Kane. He mentioned that the Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said, “I believe the Oilers have checked in on Patrick Kane, but at this time, he isn`t ready to move.” He also noted, “If he moves, it would likely be an in-season move.”

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and the addition of another Kane would create a dynamic Oilers offence that would likely be the best in the NHL. Yet, whether the Oilers decide to make a pitch for Kane before the start of the season or as a trade deadline acquisition, he’s not going to come cheap. He’s a future Hall of Famer, and the pieces that it would take to acquire him would be costly. And if Edmonton is considering moving those pieces, they should use them to improve their blue line.

Kane Will Be Costly to Acquire in a Trade

Kane is currently ranked fifth in all-time American NHL scoring with 1180 points, and it’s safe to say when his career is all said and done, he’ll likely take over first place. At 33 years old, at a minimum, he’ll need only five more seasons, averaging 45 points a season, to surpass Brett Hull’s 1391 points. Additionally, he’s a three-time Stanley Cup champion and nine-time NHL All-Star. He’s also won the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, Conn Smythe Trophy, and Calder Memorial trophy. He’s a certified lock for the Hockey Hall of Fame (HHOF), and with his illustrious résumé, it will require an expensive haul to pry him out of Chicago.

Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

So, what would trade for a future HHOF player look like? If a move gets made before the start of the season, the ask would certainly be higher, but Stauffer eluded that if a deal occurs, it would be at the deadline. A comparative deal would look like the trade that sent former NHL player Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers in 2014. Like Kane, he was a small-statured, skilled player destined for the Hall of Fame.

On March 5, 2014, the Tampa Bay Lightning traded St. Louis to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline in exchange for Ryan Callahan and three draft picks, including two first-round picks. St. Louis had one more season remaining on his contract after the trade, but using this trade as a comparison for a small point-producing winger, this could be an expectation Chicago would want in exchange for Kane.

Callahan was the Rangers’ captain at the time, but a comparable impact player that the Oilers could send is Kailer Yamamoto. With that in mind, a trade involving the Blackhawk’s Kane could look like Yamamoto, Xavier Bourgault, and a first-round pick going the other way. If I’ve estimated Chicago’s expectation for a return for Kane, that should be a hard pass from the Oilers’ perspective.

Acquiring Defence Should Be the Priority for the Oilers

The Oilers scored 65 goals in 16 games in last season’s playoff run for an average of four goals a game. They don’t have trouble scoring goals, and they likely don’t need (Patrick) Kane’s additional offence. Need further proof? McDavid and Leon Draisaitl finished last season’s playoffs ranked first and second in scoring, despite not playing a final round, and Evander Kane also led the NHL in goals (13).

They also set records — Zach Hyman tied Esa Tikkanen for the longest goal-scoring streak in franchise history by scoring in six consecutive games, (Evander) Kane tied a franchise record for most goals (3) scored in a period, and Draisaitl tied a record by recording the most points in a period (4). With the majority of last playoff’s forward core returning next season, simply put, the Oilers won’t have trouble putting the puck in the net. On the other hand, keeping the puck out of their net is the issue — they gave up 55 goals in 16 games last postseason.

Oilers Should Acquire Another Left-Shot Defenseman

If the Oilers are even considering trading that many assets for Kane, they’re best served to do so for more defensive help on the blue line to help lower their goals against. As much as hockey fans want to see 9-6 games, the Oilers need to be able to gut out and win a tight checking 2-1 game as well, and another solid defenseman should help them do that. Currently, their depth chart on the blue line is as follows:

Darnell Nurse – Cody Ceci

Brett Kulak – Evan Bouchard

Philip Broberg – Tyson Barrie

The concern I have is with the left side. Broberg might be ready to take the next step in his development to become a full-time NHL player. However, the Oilers are one injury away to Nurse, or Kulak, for Broberg — with only 23 NHL games played — to be the second-pairing defenseman on the left side. With an expectation for the Oilers to push beyond the Western Conference Final next season, an ideal situation is that he plays as the seventh defenseman and fills in when injuries occur. It begs the question, though, which defenseman should the Oilers go after?

Last season, hockey insider Elliotte Friedman viewed Arizona Coyotes defender Jakob Chychrun as a good fit for the Oilers. He’s a 24-year-old left-shooting defenseman that put up 18 goals and 23 assists in 56 games only two seasons ago and has three seasons left at a $4.6 million AAV cap hit.

THW’s Parsons also wrote an article lately about Colorado Avalanche’s Samuel Girard being a good fit for the Oilers. He’s also a 24-years old left-shooting defenseman with five years remaining on his contract at a $5 million AAV cap hit. Both players would require significant assets to acquire, but if the Oilers are even remotely considering mortgaging their future for current help, a young solid defenseman should be at the top of their list.

Related: Oilers Inquired About Blockbuster Deal With Blackhawks (Report) 

It would be a luxury to have Patrick Kane on this current Oilers squad, and he’d certainly improve Edmonton’s already high-powered offence. However, it’s a luxury they do not need. At this point in his career, he’s most effective as a setup man, and with only one puck to go around, would he even be a good fit with McDavid? Nonetheless, the acquisition of Jack Campbell in goal should help lower Edmonton’s goals against, but the addition of another stud defenseman could push them towards Stanley Cup contender status.

Substack Subscribe to the THW Daily and never miss the best of The Hockey Writers Banner