Thursday, April 18, 2024

Closing The Book On A Legendary Career As Patrick Kane’s Departure Signals New Beginning

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“It doesn’t seem real,” said Blackhawks’ GM Kyle Davidson. His comments came in a press conference just moments after the news broke that Chicago legend Patrick Kane was dealt to the New York Rangers a few days before the trade deadline.

Kane, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, waived his no-trade clause to go to the New York Rangers. Even near the peak of his career, it became apparent that the 34-year-old didn’t fit the rebuild timeline that found Chicago near the bottom of the NHL standings.

Shipping out Patrick Kane seemed inevitable for the Blackhawks, as momentum seemed to gather for a trade with a Rangers throughout February. Those murmurings were seemingly tampered with when New York added winger Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues to the roster. The Rangers initially only aimed to add one winger at the deadline, and it seemed like they had made their choice. After a brief period where teams including the Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars, and Edmonton Oilers made passes at Kane, a swap with the Rangers finally materialized.

Compensation

In deciding on New York as his preferred destination, Kane forced Chicago’s hand. Thus, they may not have gotten the type of compensation that they initially sought. After all was said and done, the Rangers sent two draft picks to Chicago: a 2023 conditional second-round pick, which could become a 2024 or 2025 first-rounder if New York made the Eastern Conference Finals, and a 2025 fourth-rounder. The Arizona Coyotes also helped facilitate the deal to keep New York under the cap, as they took on 25% of Patrick Kane’s salary. Arizona also sent defenseman Vili Saarijarvi to Chicago, while receiving a 2025 third-round pick from the Rangers in return. The Blackhawks sent a minor league prospect, Cooper Zech, to the Rangers to complete the deal.

A Permanent Mark on the Franchise

The news of Patrick Kane leaving Chicago officially marks the end of a “golden era” in Blackhawks’ history. Selected first overall in the 2007 NHL Draft, Kane quickly became the face of a franchise that hadn’t been relevant since the “glory days” of the ‘60s and ‘70s. That season, he won NHL Rookie of the Year, and never looked back. Over 16 seasons in Chicago, he brought three Stanley Cups to the city. Kane put up legendary numbers along the way, and among Americans, he ranks seventh in goals (446), fourth in assists (779), and fourth in points (1225) over his career.

Perhaps most impressive is his dependability, as Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said it best:

“The thing that impresses me the most is he’s not going to get 160 points a year but if you look at him throughout his career, he’s so good, he’s so consistent every single year and that’s not easy to do in this league. That’s a credit to him, how good of a player he is.”

Next Steps

With the “golden era” now over, where do the Blackhawks go from here? CEO Danny Wirtz was asked about the rebuild in Chicago, and he said the move was “another step in the process” of putting together more championship-caliber teams. He went on to say the team would “continue tirelessly to achieve our goals.”

It seems easy to infer that those goals start in the draft. With the Patrick Kane trade, the Blackhawks now have eight picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft at their disposal, along with six in the first three rounds next year. Implementing young players over the next few years into their system will eventually catapult Chicago back into contention.

This method of rebuilding will take time, however, and that’s something the brass in Chicago is prepared for: “You can’t rush that because the last thing you want to do is … short-circuit it and then we’re right back to the messy middle,” said Kyle Davidson. He displayed his excitement about the abundance of draft picks in his pocket, and believes he can use them to return the Blackhawks to glory.

The Blackhawks haven’t gone deep into the playoffs in nearly a decade, and may not be headed back soon. It looks as if the rebuild is in full swing, and no matter how heartbreaking it may be for Chicago sports fans, letting go of a franchise icon is a huge step in the right direction.

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Animull
Mar 6, 2023 10:16 am

Kane is all about Kane…. Time to leave…..
He has No Class as how he exited, thus screwing potential Blackhawks organization’s return..

Derek James
Derek James
Mar 5, 2023 5:19 pm

It’s always tough to see a player leave a team, but it seems like Kane’s move to the New York Rangers could be a positive step for both him and the Blackhawks!

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