Jeremy Roenick of NBC Sports thinks there's "no question" the Chicago Blackhawks are a playoff team. He also thinks they have a serious deficiency between the pipes right now, leading to their nine-game losing streak, and that an upgrade in goal could turn their fortunes around.
Ah, but to get you've gotta give. For the type of goaltender the Blackhawks might covet — oh, let's just throw Ryan Miller's name out there, for arguments sake — they'd have to give up something substantial. Maybe a gifted offensive player who is young and signed through 2015. Maybe someone — again, just spit-ballin' here — who grew up in Buffalo.
Appearing on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago (with guest co-host Sarah Spain!), Roenick was asked about trading Patrick Kane for a goalie. And, somewhat surprisingly, he was down with it:
"Everybody knows I am a huge Patrick Kane fan, there's no question about that. But when you're talking something of this nature, is Patrick Kane, um, dealable? I'm gonna have to come out, as much as I don't want to say it, they can afford to get rid of Patrick Kane. They can afford to -- with the season he's having -- maybe with his off-ice reputation, maybe with the skill they have on their team, it's doable.
"Do I like it? No, because I love Patrick Kane. He is one of the most talented and one of the best players in the NHL. But if you really want a top-end goaltender, you're going to have to give up somebody. Is that Patrick Kane? God I hope not. But some people might think so."
Oh, this is all because Kane made Roenick cry, isn't it …
Seriously, though: Roenick has been a Kane fan for years. What's interesting about his comments today is that they don't just address Kane as a player, but Kane as a person: "Maybe with his off-ice reputation…"
Here was Roenick in August 2009 after the cabbie affair with Kane:
"From when I've talked to him, I know he likes the fast lane. He likes to go out and enjoy himself. That's what all kids should be doing. He should be experiencing a lot of fun things at a young age and living his life as a professional athlete. I was surprised, but then again kids make mistakes. And sometimes they become better people because of that and I hope that happens with Pat."
Kane's not a kid anymore. Last year, he was still getting called out of being "Party Kane" in the Chicago media. If we know anything about Roenick as a pundit — besides the incredible speed of his mouth in relation to the more leisurely pace of his brain — it's that he expects behavior to change over time. Patrick Marleau's didn't as a postseason performer and leader, so he was called gutless. Patrick Kane's, in the eyes of Roenick, still hasn't shaken his "off-ice reputation" roughly two years after he should have.
Here's Roenick on whether Kane has lived up to expectations with the Blackhawks:
"If you look at it, he's been in the All-Star Game the last couple of years. He's been a poster boy for the National Hockey League and for a lot of the situations of marketing. He's a small player. He's not a physically strong player. But he's so dynamic. Can he get grittier? He can get grittier, no question. But I think he's done what the Hawks have asked him to do."
Trading Patrick Kane isn't something the Blackhawks should consider. At all. He's a young star in a rough stretch, but he's also a 23-year-old player with 348 points in 374 career games. He'll figure it out, personally and professionally.
But just hearing Roenick suggest that Kane should be anted up at the trade deadline should give the player and his team some pause.