Though it seems most likely that a trade involving Patrick Kane will have to wait until in-season, it sure would be the cherry on top of an immensely entertaining NHL offseason if the three-time Stanley Cup champion was moved by the Chicago Blackhawks over the next few weeks.
With all due respect to the several elite point producers that have switched sweaters, Kane is uniquely positioned as an expiring asset with persistent high-end talent and pedigree, and who currently skates for a team with eyes fixed on the future.
Kane is making the right move, though, by choosing to wait. Holding onto his trade request will only allow himself and the Blackhawks to gather more relevant information to make the best possible exchange of current and future talent.
But that doesn't mean we can't identify the best possible situations as it stands now.
Here are the dream landing spots if one of the most talented players of his generation chooses to move.
The level of talent would be almost unfathomable. Kane would not only provide the Oilers with another premier forward in a group that already includes two of the very best in the game, but one built entirely differently. Whereas Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl dominate with speed and skill, and power and smarts, respectively, Kane's brilliance is built on finesse.
With Kane, the Oilers can do it whatever which way — and with the three highest point producers over the last four seasons combined, by the way.
What's best is that it seems like there's a reasonable path forward for Edmonton GM Ken Holland. The Oilers have high-end prospects in Dylan Holloway and Xavier Bourgault who are capable of satisfying Chicago's main concern, and some expendable salary the Blackhawks will most certainly be willing to take on in the short term between the likes of Tyson Barrie, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi and Warren Foegele.
Edmonton is one to watch if Kane sees the Oilers as a possible fit.
New York Rangers
Buffalo is worlds away from the Big Apple in many ways, but a trade to the Rangers would be something of a homecoming for Kane. More important than birth state, however, is the situation and timeline fit with the Rangers.
(Buffalo would be cool, too, but probably best reserved for a free-agent option in 2023).
After a somewhat surprising appearance in the Eastern Conference Final last season, the Rangers have a short window to pursue before having to reassess certain aspects with Alexis Lafreniere and K'Andre Miller exiting entry-level deals. With Kane on the books at a shade over $5 million, New York would suddenly have a forward group that would match the strength of its team, which is its top four on defense and superstar netminder Igor Shesterkin. This would be a power move in the Eastern Conference.
Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles has just about everything— save for a skilled superstar forward to lead the line. For that reason, Kane has the ability to transform the Kings from a structured upstart team to a power player in the Pacific Division.
Slowly emerging from a rebuild, too, the Kings have an abundance of assets to make the trade more palatable from Chicago's standpoint.
Unlike Edmonton, New York and maybe some other possible destinations, it may not be that Kane considers the Kings an immediate contender. But that may not matter with Los Angeles being a more realistic destination for the long term.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Kane teaming up with Auston Matthews in Toronto would be an undeniably cool story for hockey — and, maybe more importantly, something that remedies the middle-six concerns with the Maple Leafs.
The firm belief at the end of last season that John Tavares was without the sort of running mate which would allow the Maple Leafs to achieve the sort of immense potential laid out many seasons ago has faded. But that's not because Kyle Dubas brought in the fix, but rather because the summer months have now fully set in. The truth is the Leafs may still be somewhat incompatible, and Kane could shift the dynamic in a positive and necessary way.
More specifically, bringing in Kane could potentially serve as the excuse to split up the top tandem, which would allow Mitch Marner to slip back down into the once hugely profitable partnership with Tavares.
Toronto has had some success (as well as complications) dealing with the Blackhawks in the past, but the work required on a Kane deal would be like no other.
Questions are aplenty, but not limited to: where would it leave William Nylander?
To solve their scoring issues, the Hurricanes might have to pay up, after all.
Free asset Max Pacioretty should still factor into the season after undergoing surgery on a torn Achilles, but his setback could open the door for another move for Carolina — and who better than one of the most prolific scorers of the last decade-plus?
Kane has the ability to transform a talented forward group that just hasn't been able to take it to the next level in recent postseason tries.
Vegas Golden Knights
It couldn't be — but it wasn't supposed to be with Alex Pietrangelo or Jack Eichel, either.
There's a no-holds-barred obsession with winning when it comes to the Golden Knights, so why wouldn't they be involved?
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