While it seems highly likely that a Patrick Kane trade will have to wait until the season, it would certainly be the cherry on top of an extremely entertaining NHL offseason if the three-time Stanley Cup champion was moved from the Chicago Blackhawks. in the coming weeks.
With all due respect to the several top producers who have switched sweaters, Kane is uniquely positioned as an expiring asset with persistent talent and high-end pedigree, and who is currently skating for a team with its eyes on the future.
Kane makes the right move, however, choosing to wait. Maintaining his trade request will only allow himself and the Blackhawks to gather more relevant information to make the best possible trade of current and future talent.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t determine the best possible situations as they are now.
Here are the dream landing spots if one of the most talented players of his generation chooses to move.
The level of talent would be almost unfathomable. Kane would not only provide the Oilers with yet another top forward in a group that already includes two of the best in the game, but one built entirely differently. While Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl dominate with speed and skill, and strength and smarts, respectively, Kane’s brilliance is based on finesse.
With Kane, the Oilers can do whatever it takes — and with the three highest point producers of the last four seasons combined, by the way.
The best part is that there appears to be a logical path forward for Edmonton GM Ken Holland. The Oilers have high-end prospects in Dylan Holloway and Xavier Bourgault who are capable of satisfying Chicago’s main concern, and some expendable salary the Blackhawks will certainly be willing to pick up in the short term including Tyson Barrie, Kailer Yamamoto. Jesse Puljujarvi and Warren Foegele.
Edmonton needs to watch if Kane considers the Oilers as a potential fit.
New York Rangers
Buffalo is worlds away from the Big Apple in many ways, but a trade to the Rangers would be something of a homecoming for Kane. More important than birth status, however, is the situation and timing that fits the Rangers.
(Buffalo would also be nice, but probably better off saving for a free agent option in 2023).
After a somewhat surprising showing in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, the Rangers have a short window to move on before having to re-evaluate some aspects with Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller coming off entry-level deals. With Kane on the books at more than $5 million, New York would suddenly have a forward group to match the strength of their team, which is their front four on defense and superstar netminder Igor Shesterkin. This would be a power move in the Eastern Conference.
Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles has just about everything—except an experienced superstar forward to lead the line. For this reason, Kane has the ability to transform the Kings from a structured starting team to a strong player in the Pacific Division.
Slowly coming off a rebuild, too, the Kings have plenty of assets to make the trade more palatable from Chicago’s perspective.
Unlike Edmonton, New York and perhaps some other potential destinations, Kane may not see the Kings as an immediate contender. But that may not matter with Los Angeles being a more realistic destination in the long run.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Kane teaming up with Auston Matthews in Toronto would be an undeniably cool hockey story — and, perhaps more importantly, one that solves the Maple Leafs’ middle-six concerns.
The strong belief at the end of last season that John Tavares didn’t have the kind of candidate that would allow the Maple Leafs to achieve the enormous potential that was articulated several seasons ago has faded. But that’s not because Kyle Dubas brought the fix, but because the summer months are now in full swing. The truth is, the Leafs may still be a bit of a mismatch, and Kane could change the dynamic in a positive and necessary way.
More specifically, Kane’s introduction could potentially serve as an excuse to break up the top line, which would allow Mitch Marner to slide back into his once highly profitable partnership with Tavares.
Toronto has had some success (as well as complications) when dealing with the Blackhawks in the past, but the work involved in a Kane deal would be unlike any other.
The questions are many, but not limited to: where would that leave William Nylander?
To solve their scoring problems, the Hurricanes may have to pay, after all.
Max Pacioretty should continue to play a role this season after surgery on a torn Achilles, but his failure could open the door for another move for Carolina — and who better than one of its most prolific scorers last decade and more?
Kane has the ability to transform a talented forward group that has simply failed to take it to the next level in recent postseason efforts.
Vegas Golden Knights
It couldn’t be — but it didn’t have to be with either Alex Pietrangelo or Jack Eichel.
There’s a forbidden obsession with winning when it comes to the Golden Knights, so why shouldn’t they be in?
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