Patrick Kane trade thoughts

Held off writing this as long as I could, but the Patrick Kane rumors simply won’t go away. Every outlet seems to have the Rangers trading for him, but few have mentioned cost, cap, timing, or if the Rangers are even interested anymore. We know they were interested at the trade deadline, but things change and that may not be the case anymore. Chris Drury plays things close to the vest, and leaks from the Rangers are few and far between.

Why the Patrick Kane rumors now?

The Patrick Kane rumors are only coming up now because the Blackhawks are apparently trading away any asset of value for pennies on the dollar. Kirby Dach and Alex Debrincat were sent away for first round picks in a bad draft. Kane is certainly more established, but the cap hit, term, and age are also a factor.

It’s tough to blame Kane for wanting out. At 33 years old, and at that skill level, he still has a lot to offer a contending team. He’s an elite RW that puts up points. He’s one of the best American born players in the game, and it’s clear that when he wants to, he still has it.

Buyer beware?

Aside from the obvious reasons to be careful about Kane (acquisition cost, salary cap, team need), it may be buyer beware on Kane. Possession metrics are far from the whole story, but they do tell a part of the story, and Kane hasn’t been a play driver in years. Not everyone needs to be a play driver, of course, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Kane doesn’t need to drive possession because of the elite skill level, and that’s fine. But the Rangers were pretty bad at driving play last season, at least until the deadline. Elite skill trumps all, but the Rangers had a major second line issue where they were one-and-done in the offensive zone. Kane doesn’t address that need. When it comes to Kane, it’s not a huge issue, but it’s something to note.

It truly becomes buyer beware if the expectation is that Kane is re-signed. He’s on the wrong side of 30, is very one dimensional on the ice, and that duo doesn’t usually age well. Keyword: Usually.

Does it make sense for the Rangers?

Short answer: No. He doesn’t fit their need for a center.

Long answer: He might, but it depends where he is on the priority list.

The Patrick Kane rumors only truly make sense if the Rangers miss out on a center to address the true team need. At that point, if you can get Kane for 50% retained, it’s tough to say no. Cost dependent, of course.

Kane and Artemiy Panarin together means it doesn’t matter who the center is. I can bet you Filip Chytil would thrive there as a play driving center who clears room for two of the best wingers in the game. It’s hard to imagine that line not firing on all cylinders, and at least Chytil would be able to drive and cycle some of the play in the offensive zone.

But if the Rangers are able to get a center, which is the true team need, then $5.25 million for Kane isn’t doable without a major roster move. At least not until the trade deadline, when cap space banked for the season plays a role. If the Rangers are in on Kane, I see the trade deadline as the best time to land him. This does assume they get a center of some sort.

What is the cost?

The trade cost is always the “if” in the Patrick Kane rumors. Debrincat got the 7th overall pick, a 2nd, and a 4th round pick. He doesn’t have Kane numbers, but 41-37-78 is still great. He scored more goals than Kane, but Kane almost doubled up on him in assists. Debrincat is 24 and had multiple years of team control left, whereas Kane is a UFA after this season. All of this matters when factoring in trade cost.

This may be a bit of a hot take, but I don’t see Kane bringing in more than Debrincat, even with 50% retained. Perhaps conditional picks get attached for playoff success and/or Kane re-signing?

It’s almost impossible to predict what Kane will fetch in a trade, so instead it makes sense to run through what the Rangers would be willing to part with for a one-year rental of Kane. And remember, Kane would be a rental because the Rangers have their own cap issues in 2023-2024.

Everyone seems to lean Kaapo Kakko, but I cannot fathom the Rangers giving up Kakko for a rental. Vitali Kravtsov, on the other hand, is someone that has the high end skill the Hawks would want, plus it opens a spot on RW for Kane. The Rangers 1st rounder in 2023 is also in play, as is Nils Lundkvist. Is Lundkvist, Kravtsov, and a 2023 1st, with some conditional picks, enough? Hawks fans say no, obviously. I lean no as well.

But the Hawks made their own bed by setting the market with Debrincat for pennies on the dollar. If the Hawks want to make the most of these Patrick Kane rumors, they will need to undo what they’ve already done to themselves.

As for Chris Drury, he’s patient. He’s methodical. He’s ruthless. We’ve seen he will wait it out, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him wait it out even more.


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