During the Blackhawks' exit interviews last season, Patrick Kane went out of his way to say how much he's enjoyed playing with Alex DeBrincat over the years and essentially implied that if DeBrincat is part of the rebuild, it makes it "easier" on Kane to want to stick around too.
"I’ve developed some chemistry with DeBrincat over the years and if he’s here and if he’s a big piece, then that makes it easier for me, too, right?" Kane said at the time. "Because I’m playing with him every day and he’s such a good player and it makes it fun to be out there with him. We’ll see how it all shakes out."
The way it shook out? The Blackhawks traded one of Kane's favorite linemates to the Ottawa Senators on NHL Draft day in a package that included the No. 7 overall pick, which turned out to be Kevin Korchinski.
Kane wasn't thrilled when the Blackhawks traded Artemi Panarin in 2017, although that one came out as a surprise to many. The DeBrincat trade was at least on the radar as a possibility, but Kane was still disappointed about losing his close friend, teammate and linemate.
"It was kind of crushing at first when you hear the news," Kane said after Thursday's first on-ice day of training camp. "Not only did we have some great chemistry on the ice, but he was one of my best friends and closest teammates off the ice as well. It was tough.
"He's a guy that's going to develop into a great player, better than he already is. He's in a great situation in Ottawa. He's going to play with some good players and put up numbers and do well, and it'll be fun to watch him do that.
"But at the same time, you wish you were doing it with him because we had that chemistry, we had the friendship off the ice, he was at the point where he wasn't scared to give it back to me or anything like that. We really pushed each other. Definitely a guy I'll miss playing with."
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