Patrick Kane tallied six points in seven playoff games this year for the Rangers, but it wasn’t enough, as his squad fell in Game 7 to the New Jersey Devils. New York was a team that had been expected to go deep into the playoffs, so the series loss came as a bit of a surprise.
The surprise wasn’t a pleasant one for either the Rangers or the Blackhawks. In attempting to get their franchise icon one more ring, the Blackhawks gained at least some compensation in the form of a conditional second-round pick.
The conditions of the pick: The 2023 second-rounder would become a first-rounder in either 2024 or 2025 if Kane helped the Rangers to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. Obviously, that didn’t happen, despite owning the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference and an incredibly talented roster featuring Kaner and Igor Shesterkin. Thus, the pick will remain in the second round. As the Rangers are now scheduled to pick 24th overall, their second-rounder will fall at 56th overall.
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The 56th pick will be the latest of four picks for the Blackhawks in the second round. Their first two picks are subject to the NHL Draft Lottery, which will be drawn on Monday (their own and the Senators’). Additionally, they own the second-rounder of the Lightning, which will be around 52nd overall. As the odds stand now via Tankathon, the Blackhawks would have picks 35, 44, 52, and 56 in the second round. That’s a lot of capital.
A Silver Lining
While the news is unfortunate for the Blackhawks, it means a bit less this year. The 2023 draft class has been said by some to be one of the deepest classes ever. An anonymous GM told ESPN back in January that “you can even get first-round talent in the second round, too, and those picks may be stronger than first-round picks [in 2024].” Other members of the NHL front office have estimated that there are “50 to 60 really good prospects” before it levels off. If the Blackhawks are to stockpile draft picks, this is the year to do it, with a tremendous amount of talent at hand. With two first-rounders and four second-rounders, the Blackhawks could quickly fill out their roster with high-end talent.
In the end, Patrick Kane’s efforts were not enough to push the New York Rangers to the Eastern Conference Finals, and the Chicago Blackhawks missed out on the chance to turn their conditional second-round pick into a first-rounder. The news isn’t all bad, however, as the prevailing opinion among front offices around the league is that pretty much every pick in the first two rounds could be on the path to stardom. Luckily for the Blackhawks, they’ve got six of them this year. Even if only half of those picks turn into strong NHL players, Chicago will be able to continue building its young core group while slowly working their way back into contention.