Rangers: 3 Potential Free-Agent Destinations for Patrick Kane

After their first-round loss to the New Jersey Devils, the New York Rangers now have plenty of questions leading up to the 2023 NHL Offseason. One specific pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) from the Rangers who fans around the league will be focusing on is future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane. The Rangers have limited cap space heading into the summer and players like K’Andre Miller and Alexis Lafreniere are due for their new contracts. Thus, Kane’s return to Broadway is not guaranteed.

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Following his trade to New York, Kane was okay, as he had 12 points in 19 regular-season games. He then followed that up with one goal and five assists in seven playoff games. Overall, the 34-year-old was a decent rental for the Rangers, but he also did not make as major of an impact as expected. If the Rangers let him walk because of it, look for these three teams to be potential free-agent destinations for him.

Vegas Golden Knights

The Vegas Golden Knights have never been afraid of adding a major name to their roster, so would it shock anybody if they pursued Kane this offseason? They were one of the many teams who were interested in Kane leading up to the deadline, so it does not seem too out of the question. This is especially so when noting that they have multiple pending UFAs like Ivan Barbashev, Teddy Blueger, and Phil Kessel who they could lose this summer.

Patrick Kane New York Rangers
Patrick Kane, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If the Golden Knights added Kane, he would be an immediate fit in their top six. When looking for a specific placement in their lineup, he could work wonderfully on a line with star center Jack Eichel and winger Jonathan Marchessault. With that, the future Hall of Famer would of course be a notable addition to their power play if signed. It is also likely that he would be open to playing there, as the Golden Knights are legitimate contenders and should be for multiple years.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins 2022-23 season was a disaster. Due to inconsistent play or poor goaltending, the Penguins finished the 2022-23 season with a 40-31-11 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in 16 years. This was immensely disappointing when noting that they were expected to be among the Eastern Conference’s top teams in 2022-23. However, with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang still leading their core, they will aim to turn things around next season. Thus, could this open the door to them targeting Kane?

The Penguins could potentially lose Jason Zucker through free agency, and that would create a notable hole in their top six. In this scenario, it would make a lot of sense for the Penguins to make a big push for Kane, as he would be a perfect fit on their second line with Malkin and Rickard Rakell. With that, he would give Pittsburgh another star forward as they aim to get things back on track.

Buffalo Sabres

The Buffalo Sabres took a major step in the right direction this season, as they missed the playoffs by only one point. Due to this and the club having plenty of cap space available, they are expected to have a busy offseason. With Kane now being a pending UFA, it now seems like the perfect time for the Sabres to bring the hometown kid back to Buffalo.

Sabres Bench Celebration
Sabres Bench Celebrates a Goal (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Sabres could use a veteran and three-time Stanley Cup champion like Kane on their roster to help mentor their younger players. If the Sabres were to sign Kane, he would be a notable addition to their top six as they aim to get by their Eastern Conference. With that, he would also become a major contributor to their power play.

Related: Bruins: 3 Potential Free-Agent Destinations for Dmitry Orlov

Although the Sabres are not contenders, they are trending that way. As a result, it would be great to see Kane head home and sign a multi-year deal with Buffalo.

We will now need to wait and see if the Rangers and Kane come to terms on a new contract before free agency begins. If not, do not be surprised if the Golden Knights, Penguins, and Sabres all express interest in the star forward.