Is the Oilers' Interest in Patrick Kane Legit?

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Is the Oilers’ Interest in Patrick Kane Legit?

Chicago Blackhawks

We’ve already been through the Obsessive Zach LaVine Trade/Sign Watch for the Bulls, and then the Obsessive Alex DeBrincat Trade Watch already this summer. But now, it appears we’re wandering into Obsessive Patrick Kane Trade Watch territory. Or at least the outskirts of the state.

We’ve been listening to Kane’s name get linked to every team in the league that has a fighting chance of a playoff spot for months. Ever since Kyle Davidson was named the permanent general manager and went public with his rebuild plan (and started acting on it), the two elder statesmen in Chicago have become happy clickbait for folks that love trade rumors.

Our job here at Bleacher Nation is to vet where the trade rumors are coming from (no “Trust me, bro” tweets will ever appear here) and consider the underlying factors that go into making at trade happen. There’s more to making a deal than “Man, he would be awesome here!”

Does the money work? Could it? Does the “interested” team have the assets the Blackhawks would want/need to make a deal? Is the timing right?

And, most importantly, would Kane (or Jonathan Toews) accept a trade to wherever they would theoretically be going? Because, you know, they have full no-move clauses so they own this entire process.

When Elliotte Friedman says there’s interest, we pay attention. He’s one of the most reliable insiders in the NHL reporting game, and doesn’t throw stuff out there unless it’s more than just smoke.

And, on Thursday in his latest episode of the “32 Thoughts” Podcast, Friedman linked the Edmonton Oilers to Patrick Kane.

Here’s the money quote:

“This one has been hot locally… there’s been a lot of talk about whether [the Oilers] are going to make a run at Patrick Kane,” Friedman said. “I think it’s legitimate that they’d like to. I don’t have any reason to believe that this talk is hot air… I think this is legitimate air, not hot air.”

Friedman goes on to list some factors to consider regarding this rumor mill entry.

  • What do the Blackhawks want to do? Is Chicago ready to do it?
  • What does Patrick Kane want to do? and What makes the most sense for Kane — do this now or wait until during the season to see “who’s good”?

Friedman also says there likely would need to be a middle man (third team) involved in this trade to make it work (both from a financial and assets perspective).

We’ve heard this rumor before. A lot. Even this week. Bob Stauffer hosted Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times to discuss the future of the Blackhawks’ superstar on Wednesday and Pope echoed a lot of what Friedman reported, though not going as far as to directly validate the Oilers-Kane rumor.

Obviously the Blackhawks traded one franchise legend to Edmonton last year when Duncan Keith joined the Connor McDavids for what became his final season in the NHL. That deal, which cost Edmonton Caleb Jones and a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft (which was subsequently traded to Arizona for a third-rounder next year), was made by Stan Bowman, however.

And we need to be real here: where Kane is in his career is different than where Keith was a year ago.

Keith asked to be traded closer to home and, as we now know, may have been thinking about the end of his career being near. Kane, on the other hand, has just one year remaining on his contract but should have a number of years left. And Kane is still playing at an elite level; we respectfully wouldn’t say the same about Keith when he was dealt.

So, going back to our consideration points early in this conversation, how does Edmonton line up as a potential suitor for a deal?

We aren’t going to focus on the economics too much because everyone is saying they need a third team to help make that work. And they do; the Oilers have zero cap space right now. None. And that’s after Keith’s cap hit evaporated into retirement.

(Note: many, including Stauffer, have pointed out the Oilers should have received a cap recapture bonus when Keith retired. They did not. And they aren’t happy about that.)

When moving valuable players to date (considering the return in the deals for Marc-André Fleury, Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach), Davidson has focused on draft picks. Of specific note regarding Edmonton’s viability as a trade partner, they own their first and second-round picks in 2023 and 2024 and their own first in 2025.

If we look at Corey Pronman’s analysis of the Oilers’ prospect pool at The Athletic from earlier this week, he ranked them 18th overall in the NHL. If we also look at attributes that Davidson has valued (read: speed and more speed), the names near the top of Edmonton’s prospect pool that might be intriguing are defenseman Philip Broberg (if Davidson feels they really need more defensemen), centers Dylan Holloway and Ryan McLeod and wing Xavier Bourgault.

At the end of the day, this is still all rumor. Kane would need to say “Hey, Kyle, Edmonton would work for me” and then he and the Blackhawks would need to talk through the timing of a deal. But enough of the right people in the right places are connecting Kane to the Oilers that it’s worth having a more substantial conversation.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab