Patrick Kane on 'crushing' Alex DeBrincat trade: 'He was one of my best friends'

Patrick Kane #88 and Alex DeBrincat #12 developed a tight bond during their time with the Blackhawks. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Patrick Kane isn’t overly pleased with how the current rebuild in Chicago is going.

The Blackhawks made a pair of shocking moves over the summer, trading young stars Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators and Kirby Dach to the Montreal Canadiens. That didn’t sit well with the fan base, nor has it been popular inside the dressing room.

While speaking to reporters on Thursday, Kane was asked about his thoughts on losing DeBrincat, and he certainly didn’t hold back. The 33-year-old stated he was initially shocked by the news as the two had formed a strong bond since DeBrincat's debut in 2017.

“It's kind of crushing at first when you hear the news. Not only did I feel like we had some great chemistry on the ice, but he was one of my best friends and closest teammates off the ice as well," Kane said. "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 good situation there 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."

Losing a teammate can be difficult, especially when that player becomes a vital member of the team’s core. There’s bound to be some hurt feelings afterwards.

And Kane isn’t the only Blackhawk who was upset by these decisions. Captain Jonathan Toews was also surprised after learning of the DeBrincat and Dach trades, saying the departure of two rising young skaters angered him at first.

But after chatting with GM Kyle Davidson, the 34-year-old now better understands the front office’s tough decision to part ways with both players in favour of future assets.

The Blackhawks likely aren’t finished selling off their star players, either. There has been plenty of speculation over the last few months about whether Kane and Toews — who are both entering the final season of their contracts — will be traded.

After DeBrincat and Dach were moved over the summer, it would make sense to continue tearing down by trading the franchise’s last remaining members from its 2015 Stanley Cup championship.

With Kane in particular, though, the 2016 Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner isn’t worried about his future in Chicago. For now, he’s focused on helping his club win as many games as possible this season.

Kane has played 1,107 career NHL games, posting 430 goals and 1,180 points. He’s won three Stanley Cups and captured the 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs.

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