The right trade for Patrick Kane still makes sense for New York Rangers

Patrick Kane and the New York Rangers have been linked to each other dating back to last season and that very much remains the case today.

“It’s been reported and I think it’s true that Colorado has asked about Kane and I believe the Rangers have too,” Elliotte Friedman said on the Jeff Marek Show prior to last year’s deadline.

At the time, the Chicago Blackhawks star had another full year of a $10.5 million cap hit on his contract and no desire to leave the only team he’s ever played for since being drafted first overall in 2007.

Prior to the start of this season, Friedman doubled down with: “Until proven otherwise I think the Rangers are the most likely destination.”

Friedman is not the only hockey insider connecting the Rangers to Kane. Pierre LeBrun wrote for The Athletic in January that Kane is a “perfect fit” and noted that the Rangers having two-first round picks in 2023 gives them the assets needed to make a deal.

Although yesterday, Larry Brooks wrote an article in the NY Post questioning if Kane is what the Rangers really needed. This is a bit stunning considering Brooks’ openly campaigned since December of 2021 to bring him to Broadway.

The NHL Trade Deadline is four weeks away (March 3) with the Rangers as buyers and Patrick Kane very likely to be moved. Will he reunite with Artemi Panarin? That remains to be seen, however if the deal is right, it makes sense.

Patrick Kane to NYR: Where there’s smoke

new york rangers patrick kane
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It really is hard to dismiss all the rumors of Patrick Kane and the New York Rangers.

A colleague of Brooks, Mollie Walker, recently spoke with Forever Blueshirts about the upcoming trade deadline and who the team may target.

“I think that when there’s smoke there’s got to be fire,” Walker said. “I feel like there’s been smoke around the Rangers-Kane connection for years now. I have no doubt that the Rangers are interested, have thought about it, and put scenarios in their head of how they would bring Patrick Kane to New York. I’ve talked to Artemi Panarin and know he would love Patty Kane to come to New York.”

While Artemi Panarin is surely missing his creative center Ryan Strome, who the Rangers let walk to sign the more straight-line Vincent Trocheck, the addition of Kane would be an offensive boon.

Panarin broke into the NHL as an undrafted free agent in 2015-16 spending two-seasons with Kane in Chicago before being dealt to Columbus. As a rookie, he posted 30 goals and 77 points in 80 games, followed up by 31 goals and 74 points in 82. Coincidentally, during their first year together, Kane posted a career-high 46 goals and his second highest point total of 106.

The duo’s on-ice chemistry also extends off of it, as they’re both still good friends.

“He’s always got those quick, witty comments,” Kane said told The Athletic in December. “I mean, obviously, it’d be fun to play with Panarin again.”

Simply put, the Rangers will be interested in bringing Kane to New York– if the price is right.

The right deal for Patrick Kane

Many of the teams in the market for Kane are already up against the salary cap this season and will have a hard time adding him unless the Blackhawks retain the max 50% of his cap hit. That’s why a first-round pick and more will be going the other way.

That being said, there are two major factors in play regarding a trade for Kane. First off, he has a full no-move clause that could absolutely handcuff the Hawks if he’ll only waive for one team. The other issue is a lingering lower-body injury that caused him to miss time and is believed to need a procedure at some point.

Kane missed three games in early January because of the injury. He scored a goal in his first game back, but certainly appeared to be nursing the issue. The 34 year-old registered just two assists in his next four contests before showing a little more explosiveness in his final three games before the All-Star Break notching four points.

Even if Kane can play through this, there’s no doubt that it has already impacted his trade value. One league source told Forever Blueshirts that interest in him around the league has dwindled for now. However, should Kane choose to only waive for one team, then the Hawks will have to take whatever they can get.

Pat Brisson, who represents Kane, compared this situation to another one of his clients’ Claude Giroux. If you recall, Giroux would only waive his no-move clause for one team last year and the Flyers return from the Panthers was kept reasonable because of that factor.

Florida shipped Owen Tippett, a 1st-round pick 2024, and 3rd-round pick 2023 to Philadelphia for Giroux at 50% retained, Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov, and a 5th-round pick in 2024.

With that in mind, if Kane will only waive to play for the Rangers then GM Chris Drury is in the driver’s set. Understanding that the Hawks just can’t give Kane away with 50% salary retention on a $10.5M contract, the Rangers can still extract a bottom six piece from Chicago to improve their depth.

Enter 27 year-old center/winger Sam Lafferty, who has 17 points in 42 games and one more year remaining on a contract with a nice AAV of just $1.15 million. In one simple deal, the Rangers can address their hole on right wing in the top six, and add a key piece to their fourth line and penalty kill units.

The Rangers will send over a first-round pick in 2023 and a player/prospect. For me, the obvious choice is former first-round pick Vitali Kravtsov, whom the Rangers can’t seem to find a place for on their roster. Throw in a third round pick for good measure to complete the package.

At the end of the day, the Rangers aren’t trading Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, or Filip Chytil for a rental in Kane. He’s obviously on the down side of his career with 34 points in 45 games this season and dealing with an injury. However, if the deal is right, then Kane on Broadway makes sense to me.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore