Patrick Kane is finally a New York Ranger. The Rangers took some time to gather the cap space to acquire Kane, but they did on Tuesday afternoon.
The Rangers sent a conditional 2023 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Kane. If the Rangers win two rounds of the playoffs this year, the conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round pick in 2024 or 2025.
The Arizona Coyotes were involved as third parties to retain some of Kane’s salary and allow the Rangers to fit him under the cap. In exchange for keeping 25% of Kane’s cap hit, the Coyotes got a 2025 third-round pick from the Rangers.
Let’s take a deeper look at how all three teams fared in this deal.
New York Rangers
Slam dunks don’t get much easier than this. The Rangers were Shaquille O’Neal playing with a Little Tikes hoop.
Kane had a full no-movement clause and that benefited Rangers significantly. New York was Kane’s preferred trade destination, and as such, the Rangers only had to give up a conditional second-round pick and a fourth-round pick to acquire one of the best American players in NHL history.
Kane’s critics will say he’s nothing more than a shell of the player who led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups and won the Hart Trophy in 2016. At 34, Kane probably isn’t that player anymore, but rumors for his death may be at least a little exaggerated.
While it’s true that Kane is on pace for one of the worst seasons of his career and that his defensive game has skyrocketed in recent years, the quality of the roster around him has been abysmal.
For example, Kane’s teammates in the 2022-23 season were Max Domi, Sam Lafferty, Andreas Athanasiou, Philipp Kurashev, Jason Dickinson and Tyler Johnson. Despite being in a less than ideal situation, Kane has scored 16 goals and 29 assists in 54 games.
Will Kane return to 30-goal, 80-point seasons? Probably not, but the last two seasons in Chicago probably weren’t the best indicator of what he has left in the tank. Besides, Kane could be reunited with former Blackhawks teammate Artemi Panarin in New York.
Kane and Panarin played two seasons together in Chicago from 2015 to 2017. In that span, Kane tallied 80 goals and 115 assists for 195 points in 164 games. That span also included his MVP season in 2015-16. If Rangers manager Gerard Gallant re-inserts Kane and Panarin, this could be the spark that ignites Kane again.
The bottom line is that the Rangers got another great offensive playmaker at a bargain price. Kane’s best days may be behind him, but it’s hard to believe he won’t improve in a Rangers side that now boasts one of the best forward-six groups in the league. Keeping the tees off the board will be a tough task for their playoff opponents. Grade — A+
The Blackhawks’ hands were tied here. They could either let Kane have his swan song in Chicago for the rest of the season and risk losing him for nothing in free agency or trade him to the Rangers. This is. Those were their two options.
This decision was probably not easy for Chicago. Kane is a franchise icon. He has three Stanley Cup rings and a Hart Trophy to his name. No. 88 will climb the rafters at the United Center one day and a statue of him will sit outside the arena.
By opting to part ways with Kane before the trade deadline, the Blackhawks had little to no leverage due to the no-movement clause. At some point, this trade was done more to do Kane a favor and give him a chance to win another Cup than anything else.
Because of all these factors, this return is incredibly disappointing. There was no guaranteed first-round pick, no young roster players, and no prospects.
Under more normal circumstances, Kane would have gone for a king’s ransom at the deadline, but these were not normal circumstances. The Blackhawks gave up a legendary player for the kind of return a middle forward commanded. At least Chicago fans can root for Kane and the Blackhawks in the playoffs in hopes that the conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round pick. Grade — D+
Keeping the salary of an all-time great for a mid-round draft pick. We call this the Coyotes Special.
As a team that often flirts with the salary cap, the Coyotes need to make these kinds of moves as they try to climb out of the NHL basement. Fortunately for them, the inevitable Jacob Chychrun should bring back more than just a third-round pick. Grade A-