NHL Rumors: Patrick Kane healing quickly, where will he sign?

Today’s NHL Rumors follows up on the latest regarding teams who may be interested in three-time Stanley Cup champion and unrestricted free agent Patrick Kane. 

According to statistics from CapFriendly.com, three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane made $10.5 million last year, splitting his season between the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers. As many know, the 34-year-old had hip surgery in the offseason, so he remains unsigned just weeks before training camp.

However, Kane’s name remains in the headlines as teams wait patiently for news of his recovery. On Thursday, he mentioned in an interview that he’s been on the ice rehabbing and would consider himself ahead of schedule regarding his progress.

“It’s just exciting to see the progression and just feeling better on the ice. Kind of getting back to my old self, so it’s pretty exciting. I think we’re at the point now where, I mean, could I come back early? Yeah, probably, but does it make sense? You know, it might be better to take the full time and just make sure I’m at 105-110% instead of just 90-95. But it’s a lot better than I was last year.”

Considering he’s one of this generation’s most gifted scorers, a handful of teams will line up for services when the time is right.

“If someone wanted to come and give an offer that I was excited about and a situation that I’m excited about, it’s not like I wouldn’t be listening just because of the situation I’m in.”

Let’s look at potential suitors and if they can afford to employ him. 

NHL Rumors: Patrick Kane and the Edmonton Oilers

NHL rumors
Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

A few seasons ago, former Blackhawks All-Star defenseman Duncan Keith left the team to join the Edmonton Oilers and help the team reach the Western Conference Final in 2021-22. At last year’s trade deadline, there was a lot of chatter on social media that Keith, who joined the Oilers’ front office upon retirement, was busy trying to recruit his buddies Jonathan Toews and Kane to come to Alberta

Ultimately, the Oilers would have needed to acquire both players in a trade, giving up some draft picks and prospects while moving around some cash. However, both long-time teammates are free agents and, on the backside of their careers, would embrace another chance at the Stanley Cup. Realistically, the Oilers are on the cusp of punching their championship ticket, and acquiring two veteran players hungry for another shot would put them over the top. 

Boston Bruins

Although the Boston Bruins desperately need centers, after losing Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci to retirement, general manager Don Sweeney wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to talk to future Hall of Famer Kane when he’s ready to return. Considering the native of Buffalo, New York, has already played for two of the four Original Six American franchises, he could end up with the Bruins if the price is right. 

The Bruins have David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk as their top right-wingers, with DeBrusk set to become a free agent next summer. If he walks away, Sweeney could replace him with Kane, which would serve as a stopgap to allow for time to find a long-term solution for the position after Pastrnak. Of course, after a historic run in 2022-23, the Bruins have limited cap space to make this move possible but never say never when acquiring superstars. 

Dallas Stars

According to David Pagnotta from the Fourth Period, the Dallas Stars are interested in acquiring Kane, giving them a formidable lineup in Texas. As one of the top teams in the Central Division and the entire conference, the Stars recently went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 and were knocking on the door again last year. 

Acquiring someone like Kane would give them a forward group that consists of Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, Evgenii Dadonov, Tyler Seguin, and Matt Duchene. Besides the fact they employ Jake Oettinger between the pipes, the Stars would be setting themselves up to be one of the teams to beat in the Western Conference. 

Colorado Avalanche

Interestingly, the 2022 Stanley Cup champions Colorado Avalanche also appear interested in acquiring Kane upon his return. Besides employing top stars like Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Makar, the Avalanche are thin throughout the rest of the lineup, especially with captain Gabriel Landeskog still out with knee issues. 

If the Avalanche successfully signed Kane, it would give them another elite skater to hop over the boards, making every opponent’s night a little more challenging. After being upset by the expansion Seattle Kraken in last year’s opening round, Colorado would be on a mission this year to not only defend their Central Division title but also show they are still one of the top teams in the league. 

New York Rangers

According to Arthur Staple of The Athletic, Kane enjoyed his time with the Rangers and felt he couldn’t give his best due to injury. That left him with a bit of an empty feeling and a desire to show fans on Broadway what he could do at 100%.

“I look at that series, and if I had felt a little better, I could’ve helped us win that series,” Kane said. “It’s disappointing… Of course, I would love to be back. If I could feel better with this team and this opportunity, I’d love that chance. I know they have young guys to sign and other priorities, but it was an amazing experience for me.”

Statistically, Kane registered 57 points in 73 games split between the Blackhawks and Rangers last season. Furthermore, he added another six points (one goal, five assists) in seven postseason contests with the Blueshirts.

Currently, the Rangers have no cap space available to sign Kane, but there’s always the potential to make a trade to fit the upstate New York native into the lineup.