Another day, another Patrick Kane rumor. Per Emily Kaplan, Kane’s team is “recalibrating” and have asked the Blackhawks to truly dive into the Rangers and see if there is a match. This is the rumor that just won’t die, even after the Vladimir Tarasenko trade.
There is legitimate concern around Kane’s hip injury, and if it will impact his play. This is a real concern that can derail Stanley Cup hopes for the Rangers. This is in addition to the acquisition cost and complexity of such a deal with limited cap space. That said, if Kane is truly forcing his way to the Rangers, the acquisition cost should be minimal.
Assuming a healthy Kane, he’d be a difference maker for the Rangers. Jimmy Vesey would go to the fourth line with Barclay Goodrow and Tyler Motte, giving the Rangers the best group of forwards in the NHL. Their top six would be virtually unmatched, the Kid Line as the third line would be the best in the NHL, and their fourth line would be an absolute pain to play against.
Cap space is the biggest hurdle, as there isn’t much time between now and the NHL trade deadline. The Rangers can only make this deal with two factors:
- Kane at 25%, meaning a three team trade, and
- One roster player on waivers (or trade) as of February 25, OR
- Two roster players on waivers (or trade) as of (roughly) February 28
That’s 1 and 2 or 1 and 3.
The precursor to any deal is a player on waivers, be it Ben Harpur, Vitali Kravtsov, or Jake Leschyshyn (waivers only, Leschyshyn cannot be traded per my knowledge). One of these dominoes needs to fall before Kane becomes a realistic trade scenario.
These Patrick Kane rumors won’t go away yet, but we will have a clearer picture on February 25 and February 28. Those are the deadlines to clear cap space.