Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane is in the final year of a monster ten-year, $84 million contract, and with the Hawks in the basement of the National Hockey League, there’s a very real chance the sniper gets traded before the NHL Trade Deadline on Mar. 3.
Although there are rumblings that Kane will elect to remain with the team until the end of the season and then head to free agency, the Hawks would obviously prefer to get a haul in return for the American winger rather than losing him for nothing later in 2023 .
Kane has a full no-trade clause and will dictate his short-term future, but the 34-year-old has been adamant in wanting to win, something that he won’t be doing anytime soon in Chicago. After dominating the league in the early 2010s and winning three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015, the Hawks are in the midst of a full-scale rebuild, and the future of both Kane and Canadian center Jonathan Toews are in question.
Kane has reportedly had multiple conversations with team general manager Kyle Davidson, and as the team continues to tank and pray to the hockey gods for the No. 1 overall pick to win the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, it would make the most sense to stock the cupboards by trading Kane and Toews before March. 3. Here are the best landing spots for the former first overall pick.
New York Rangers
The Rangers were oh-so-close to reaching the Stanley Cup final last season, getting out to a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning before dropping four straight to bow out in the final four. New York is in win-now mode, and they simply don’t have the offensive depth necessary to get over the hump as the team is constructed.
Besides Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider, the team is starved for top-end wingers, especially with the middle way No. 1 overall pick Alexis Lafreniere continues to play. The star power is there on offense, defense with Adam Fox, and in net with superstar and last year’s Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin, but the team simply needs stronger wingers.
Broadway has seemed like a plausible landing spot for Kane from the start, especially considering the fact that they have two 2023 first-round picks. They could offer the Blackhawks a first and a second for Kane, and still have a first-round selection in a loaded 2023 draft. Not many teams could make a better pitch to Patrick Kane, who grew up in Western New York, than the Original Six team that plays at Madison Square Garden.
The defending Stanley Cup champions have been absolutely decimated by injuries this season. Nathan MacKinnon, Valeri Nichushkin, Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar have all been on the shelf for lengthy absences, and captain Landeskog isn’t expected to be back anytime soon.
The Avalanche remain a powerhouse in the Central Division, and have returned to form after struggling for the last month, winning six games in a row and slowly getting healthier. Patrick Kane would be nothing but a rental for the Avs, but putting him on a line with either MacKinnon or Mikko Rantanen would immediately make it one of the best in the NHL, and general manager Chris MacFarland wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t at least kick the tires on Kane.
The Avalanche are a prime candidate to repeat as back-to-back Stanley Cup champions with the star power they boast, and adding Kane would solidify them for another deep playoff run, even if they had to sell the farm to do it.
The Carolina Hurricanes are another obvious choice to make a push for Patrick Kane, especially after losing Max Pacioretty to a season-ending injury just a week after getting him back in the lineup. Since the 2019 postseason, Carolina ranks 13th in goals per game, and just can’t seem to get over the hump since getting swept by the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Eastern Conference Final.
Kane would be a huge addition for the Hurricanes, on a team that already boasts star wingers in Andrei Svechnikov, Martin Necas (who is in the midst of a breakout season), and Teuvo Teravainen. Kane has the ability to transform a talented forward group that just hasn’t been able to take it to the next level in recent postseason attempts.
Although the Hurricanes could also be looking for a center in Vancouver Canucks star Bo Horvat, Kane has proven he can be a gamebreaker in the playoffs, which is exactly what the Hurricanes need.
The Buffalo Sabers have been rejuvenated in the Atlantic Division this year and are on the verge of a playoff spot heading into the All-Star break. That’s mainly due to the breakout of young superstars Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin, along with steady goaltending and the emergence of an elite first line that features Thompson, Alex Tuch and Jeff Skinner.
The main draw for Kane in Buffalo is that a move would be a homecoming for the superstar. Not only did Kane grow up in the city, he still lives in the area during the offseason, even bringing the Stanley Cup to Niagara Falls after the Hawks won it in 2010.
The team has a few million dollars in cap space to work with, and a plethora of young talent including first-round picks in Casey Mittelstadt and Peyton Krebs. The Sabers might not want to empty the cupboard by making a splash for Kane, especially as they are probably still a few years away from Stanley Cup contention, but make no mistake: Kane in Buffalo would be electric.