Round 3? Rangers and Patrick Kane rumors continue to grow ahead of March deadline

Rangers potentially Patrick Kane
Chicago Blackhawks’ Max Domi (13) celebrates with Patrick Kane (88) and Tyler Johnson (90) after scoring against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
AP Photos

The number of times Patrick Kane and the New York Rangers have been linked together this month has been incredible. 

New York went out and got Vladimir Tarasenko, an apparent end to the Kane sweepstakes, just a few weeks ago. 

And yet here we are, just under a week before the NHL’s trade deadline and rumors between the Blueshirts and one of Chicago’s best all-time hockey players have grown to a point where many are asking “when” and not “if.”

Those rumors were helped by New York Post writer Larry Brooks reporting that the Rangers “will try to make it work if Kane is willing to waive his no-move clause in order to come to New York.” The addition of Tarasenko has not diminished the Rangers’ interest in Kane according to Brooks. 

But is a move really feasible for the Rangers? Can they strike at another veteran winger that would transform their offense from great to a historic unit? As always, more questions are hovering around this potential trade than answers. 

Kane’s decision

It’s been well documented that the 3x Stanley Cup winner has wanted to be traded to the New York Rangers for some time now. After New York secured a deal for Tarasenko, Kane told reporters “It’s not the happiest I’ve been to hear about a trade.” He, like many others, believed that the Rangers would not be able to make a trade for him with lesser assets. 

That might not be the case though. 

The first step of this potential trade is that Kane is going to want to first, move his no-trade clause, and second, specifically demand that he be moved to New York. If Kane’s lone target destination is with the Rangers, the Blackhawks won’t have much of a choice as their star right-winger is a free agent after this season, and getting any sort of capital for him will be extremely important.

An additional trade for Kane only works if the player only wants to come to New York. Kane has been consistent in saying he needs time to decide his future, but almost all of it hinges on his interest. 

Rangers cap space

After Kane makes his decision, and if he only wants to come to the Rangers, then the complex trade can begin. In the end, Vitali Kravtsov is expected to be moved as well as additional draft picks. General manager Chris Drury has shown the ability to get great value in these deadline deals without giving up the farm completely. 

That will be put to the test here. The Rangers only have around $900,000 in cap space and could squeeze a Kane deal if a third-party team is willing to take on some amount of salary. If that happens, the idea of Kane coming to New York would change to being likely instead of just possible. 

New York would need to be very particular in how they handle these trade rumors for Kane. They still need to stay under the cap and there are incentives to pass on a player like Kane in order to carry over as much cap as possible for next season. 

That being said, there are very few chances in history where a team like the Rangers can get a future Hall-of-Famer like this.

Blackhawks thought process

Here is the hardest part of the potential deal. Kane is a free agent next season. Chicago is also in the early stages of a rebuild.  If the Blackhawks want to get anything for their star player at the deadline, and Kane only wants to go to one team, Chicago would be smart to try and facilitate a trade with said team. 

They could, however, just simply say no and let Kane walk as a free agent. The cap situation can be altered and Kane’s interest will be the first major key to a potential deal, but it’s the Blackhawks that truly hold all the cards here. 

If they are hell-bent on getting fair assets, there is a good chance that Kane won’t be moved. 

Should a deal get done?

Any move that can help your team with offensive firepower and playoff experience is one that should be discussed with any contending team. 

If the Rangers are to make a move like this, it would show that they aren’t just all-in on a championship, but that they are willing to build one of the first NHL superteams to get that done. It’s also important to remember that a deal doesn’t have to be made for the Rangers to be contenders. 

They currently are in third in the Metro division, they have one of the league’s best goaltenders, and a fourth-line center trade could be just as helpful as Patrick Kane in completing the roster. There isn’t a need to swing for the fences other than the belief that Chris Drury thinks this is the team to get the Rangers fanbase a title. 

No deal has been done yet, but where this is smoke, there is usually fire. And for the New York Rangers, that smoke could very well turn into future championship aspirations. 

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