Oilers Not Likely to Land Either Kane or Tkachuk

The Edmonton Oilers have had a successful offseason thus far. They’ve cleared cap space, brought back key players, and signed others in important roles. I believe there are still one or two trades left to clear out two players, but that doesn’t involve adding another high-end talent. There are two superstars in particular that have gotten a lot of attention around the league as far as a trade goes. Many teams and fans want at least one of them, but the Oilers will not be one of the teams that land them. Let’s take a look at each of the players and why they won’t eventually end up in Edmonton.

Patrick Kane

The first of the two players whose names are in the rumour mill is Patrick Kane. It is very unlikely he will be traded before the trade deadline next season as he enters the final year of his contract, and if the Chicago Blackhawks retain half of his salary, the team that gets him would be getting one of the NHL’s elite players at just over $5 million.

It is generally easier to work around a roster and make room for a player in the offseason, but Kane appears to be wanting to start the season with the Blackhawks and find out who the real contenders are by the deadline. Early betting odds are in on who Kane will be traded to, and the Oilers top the list.

For a team that will have very little cap space after they sign all of their young restricted free agents and have all of their highest paid players locked in already, it’s odd that they are the most likely landing spot. Considering Kane may very well be the best American-born player of all time, and has his choice of teams to be traded to due to his no-move clause, there’s more indication to back him wanting to go to a team in the United States rather than all the way North to Canada.

If it’s a contender he’s waiting for to make themselves known, the Oilers should be at the top, but so will a few other teams with more cap space and likely an equal shot at winning the Stanley Cup. Two teams that stand out are the New York Rangers and Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche are still flirting with bringing back Nazem Kadri if they can clear cap space, but as the free agent still has his choice of teams, the Stanley Cup champions could just as easily do the same for Kane.

Looking closer to home, Kane was born in Buffalo, New York, so it makes sense that he would want to return there with three Cups already in his back pocket at age 33 to finish his career. In the case of the Buffalo Sabres, they won’t be a Stanley Cup contender, but could and would be willing to offer him a contract extension right away if that’s what he so chooses. It may be a little more difficult for the Rangers as they have a number of players locked in, but could also definitely be done and have the assets to do so.

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

Winning more Cups can’t be the only factor behind the decision Kane is going to make, as I mentioned how many he has already won in his career. Many players feel the pull of home later in their careers to be closer to family and get that chance to play for their hometown team. Though there is nothing wrong with Edmonton, the trend may have picked up significantly with Johnny Gaudreau leaving Calgary and Matthew Tkachuk right behind him. The Oilers are strong up front, and even though it never hurts to add another great talent to the mix, it will cost them big time for a rental like Kane.

Matthew Tkachuk

As much as Oilers fans hate Tkachuk, he is undeniably a very good player and someone that you hate facing, but love to have on your team. Take Brad Marchand and Tom Wilson for example. All three are pests and stir up stuff every night while playing at a high level.

Related: Oilers Are Pacific Division Favourites with Rivals Losing Key Players

Now, every team is going to have possible pitches as to how Tkachuk would fit into their lineup and how he would do well in that organization. However, a team like the Oilers and how they’re built aren’t going to bring in or attract every free agent or player, even if they are Stanley Cup contenders. So, what makes you think that Tkachuk would want to go north of Calgary to Edmonton? The only reason I could think of is that the Oilers have the star players and knocked out the Flames in the playoffs last season. Unfortunately, the cap space isn’t going to come out of thin air.

Matthew Tkachuk Calgary Flames
Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There’s no denying that Tkachuk will not be a Flame by the start of 2023-24, and very likely he is going to get traded before his arbitration hearing that would be held between the end of July and mid-August. He would be rewarded with a one-year contract if it were to be settled in arbitration and he has told the Flames that he isn’t going to re-sign with them, while also providing the team with a list of destinations he would sign long-term. According to a source close to Tkachuk, he listed the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Dallas Stars. All southern teams that are playoff contenders. Trading him to one of these teams would maximize a return and the Oilers aren’t on this list. That would mean they would be trading a lot for Tkachuk’s services for just one season (from “Matthew Tkachuk tells Flames he won’t re-sign long term; trade likely: Sources”, The Athletic, 7/21/22).

Something that is worth noting is the thought process by the Flames general manager as well. Would he want to deal one of their stars to their biggest rival and see him four to five times a year as well as giving them an even greater chance at chasing a Cup? It is likely that a trade, if the Oilers were even interested at all, would cost them more than one of the other teams I mentioned above. Plus there has to be a bit of bad blood between Tkachuk and the players, even though they should be able to put the team first and think of him as a teammate.

The Oilers’ roster is very good and they should be able to compete for not only the division and Western Conference title but also the Stanley Cup without any huge additions that will cost them and only be beneficial in the short term. Trust me, watch both Kane and Tkachuk wind up on American teams, not a Canadian squad like the Oilers.

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