The hundred dollar question after Thursday night’s trade bonanza remains: what will happen with the two remaining franchise icons, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews?
Last night, Pierre LeBrun asked Pat Brisson specifically about one of his clients, Kane. It’s worth noting that Brisson also represents Toews.
It’s understandable if the emotions were still too raw for Kane or his agent to comment on the fire sale that took place. But it’s also worth noting that Brisson has another massive consideration on his table; he’s also working a massive, long-term deal with Stanley Cup hero Nathan MacKinnon in Colorado. Yes, Brisson’s client roster is an all-star team.
Davidson was also asked about the futures of Kane and Toews during his post-draft media availability.
Yes, there’s value in having two superstars and faces of the franchise to continue putting butts in seats (albeit significantly fewer based on social media last night).
Both players have a $10.5 million cap hit for one more year. As we’ve detailed previously, the NHL’s salary cap ceiling is staying relatively flat again for next year ($82.5 million), so there aren’t many (any) teams with both the cap flexibility and roster good enough to convince either Chicago superstar to waive their no-move clause for a full season.
Even if the Blackhawks ate half of their cap hits, it’s still a tough proposition.
But the large value in the two — especially Kane — is adding draft capital in the deeper, hyped 2023 draft.
However, John Dietz tweeted a good thread last night reminding us what Kane said about the rebuild. Near the end of the season, Kane spoke about a rebuild not necessarily needing to take an incredibly long time.
As we noted this morning, it appears Davidson is telling us that his plan is a longer time horizon for the organization to return to competitive play, however.
Indications and beliefs are that Toews will likely finish his contract, and possibly his career, in Chicago. Given his health issues that cost him the full, post-pandemic short season and his mindfulness of his body, there’s a chance this is the swan song for 19.
But Kane has a lot of tread left on his tires and is still playing at an elite level. There may be a time between now and the horn sounding at the 2023 trade deadline that Kane departs for greener pastures. And if/when that happens, fans will have an even bigger hole in their hearts than they do waking up this morning.