What would a Blackhawks-Rangers trade involving Patrick Kane look like?

Let me start by saying this: Patrick Kane has not made a decision yet one way or another about what his future might hold beyond the March 3 trade deadline.

I’ve spoken to some members of the organization who believe he’ll stay with the Blackhawks. I’ve talked to others who can’t imagine he would. The fact there isn’t a clear answer yet is indicative that no decision has been made, at least not outwardly.

At some point after the holidays, Kane and his representatives are expected to meet with the Blackhawks’ management group to discuss Kane’s future. Same with Jonathan Toews, for that matter. The two of them have full no-movement clauses, so they hold all the cards.

With that being said, I couldn’t help but think again on Sunday as Artemi Panarin and the New York Rangers routed the Blackhawks 7-1 in Chicago that a Kane to New York trade would make the most sense if it ever got to a point where Kane wanted to be moved. Hypothetically though, what would that trade package look like?

The Claude Giroux trade from Philadelphia to Florida last season feels like a benchmark, at the very least. Here’s what the full deal was:

A few reasons why Kane’s situation could be slightly different:

  • Giroux reportedly gave Philadelphia only one team he wanted to get traded to, which limited the return. If Kane were to give Chicago multiple teams, it would open up a potential bidding war. If he were to choose just one, the return could be similar to Giroux’s, although I’d argue Kane is playing at a higher level and warrants a larger return because of it.
  • Kane’s cap hit is $10.5 million. Giroux’s was $8,275 million. Even though Philadelphia retained 50 percent of Giroux’s salary, it’s still more than a $1 million difference if Chicago were to do the same with Kane. A third party could always get involved to crunch the number down further, but I’m not sure the Rangers would need to do that.

(It’s worth noting, by the way, that under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Chicago wouldn’t be able to attach a contingency if Kane were to re-sign with whatever team he could be traded to).

The main reason why the Blackhawks and Rangers would be ideal trade partners in a Kane trade is that it checks a lot of boxes for both the player and the Blackhawks:

  • The Rangers have the assets Chicago would be looking for. They have so many young players on their roster, most of whom are underperforming and could use a change of scenery, and also have two first-round picks in 2023.
  • The Rangers have the cap space to make it work. As of Sunday, their projected deadline space is just over $7.1 million.
  • The Rangers would give Kane an opportunity to reunite with his favorite linemate Panarin, so the transition would be pretty seamless. Madison Square Garden is also a bit closer to his hometown of Buffalo, which would make things a little easier on his parents than him, who drive to Chicago for most home games.
  • The Rangers have a strong core that could entice Kane into signing an extension if one of his preferences, if he were to move, is to choose a team that could keep him around beyond just a playoff run and is a perennial contender for years to come .

If you’re the Blackhawks, how high is your asking price? A first-round pick would almost certainly be part of the package. After that, it gets interesting.

Would the Rangers part ways with K’Andre Miller or Braden Schneider? Doubtful. What about Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko or Alexis Lafreniere? That’s where the conversation would probably go next, and that’s where it should go next. Multiple league scouts I spoke to weren’t very high on Vitali Kravtsov, so I don’t think he’d be a prospect the Blackhawks would get overly excited about.

A few weeks ago, it didn’t seem like the Rangers would be a possibility for Kane because they were outside of the playoff picture. But now that they’ve won seven in a row, the Rangers look like the team most thought they would be at the beginning of the season, which could make them legitimate players in the potential Kane sweepstakes.

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