What Do We Make of Recent Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Trade Buzz?

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What Do We Make of Recent Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Trade Buzz?

Chicago Blackhawks

Scott Powers at The Athletic recently shared what he’s been hearing about the potential trade futures of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. The only two nuggets of note regarding either of them was Powers pointing out the following:

[Kane] mentioned Friday that he’ll likely speak with his agent, Pat Brisson, and Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson soon. Kane said after Saturday’s game that making a run at Stan Mikita’s Blackhawks points record wouldn’t weigh into his decision.

The fact that Kane isn’t necessarily weighing Mikita’s records in his decision-making process regarding a trade is relatively interesting. Historically, he’s cared about that, but he also hasn’t closed the door on returning to Chicago at some point.

Add to that when Powers says, “it doesn’t sound like their front office is convinced Kane and Toews will actually ask to be traded,” and “There is a belief within the organization that Kane is more likely to leave than Toews,” and you have more of the same questions we’ve been dealing with since the trade bonanza around the draft.

There is no certainty about what either Kane or Toews will do before the deadline, no matter what some people might think they know and/or believe about the player.

There are a few teams that might be interested in Kane as we get closer to Christmas and the conversation between 88, his agent, and the Blackhawks’ front office takes place.

Kane to the Islanders?

With the Blackhawks swinging through New York and New Jersey during this three-game trip, there has been a lot of conversation about Kane’s potential future. The Rangers have been linked to Kane pretty much since they signed Artemi Panarin; Kane won the Hart Trophy playing with Panarin and they still have a good relationship.

But the second game of the trip brought some additional conversation from New York. The Islanders appeared in back-to-back conference finals before last year’s debacle, which started with a lengthy road trip because their new barn wasn’t ready and ended with Barry Trotz moving on from the organization.

I saw a few Islanders sites jumping into the “what if the Isles wanted Kane?” thought process, which is nice. But they’re late to the party.

Others in Chicago have noted that Kane and Mathew Barzal have a good relationship, like Kane’s with Panarin. And the fact that the Islanders’ decision maker has wanted Kane for a long time makes that rumor a case of “where there’s smoke…

We’ve now seen the Islanders twice this season and know what they’re about: they’re a defense-out team that takes care of their end and creates offense when/where they can. Barzal is really the only dynamic threat they have up front, so adding a player like Kane would change that element of their roster. So the fit makes sense.

  • Do the Islanders have cap space? Sort of. According to CapFriendly, the Isles will have roughly $10.9 million in cap space at the deadline — which would fit Kane’s $10.5 million AAV. But Kane would take up most of that space, limiting anything the Islanders want/need to do between now and the end of the season.
  • What do the Islanders have to offer? The Isles have all of their own draft picks in the subsequent three drafts, with the lone exception being their third-round pick in 2023 (which is tied to the Andrew Ladd trade to Arizona). Their prospect pool is not great, however. The Athletic ranked the Islanders’ pipeline 27th in the NHL back in August. And their top forward prospects have some flags for me; Corey Pronman noted that William Dufour‘s “skating is just OK, lacking NHL speed.” Based on what Kyle Davidson is doing, that’s a no from me (and likely him).

Pronman also lists the skating of Oliver Wahlstrom and Aatu Räty as below average. The one guy in their system that intrigues me is Quinn Finley, who’s playing with Madison in the USHL after the Islanders picked him in the third round (No. 78) in the 2022 NHL Draft (three picks before the Blackhawks selected Samuel Savoie). He’s committed to playing at Wisconsin next year. So a deal with the Isles would likely be built around picks primarily.

Toews to Colorado?

I’m going to start this by saying I don’t think Jonathan Toews asks for a trade. I think he rides out the season and sees where things are at next summer. But the rumor mill has been tying him to Colorado since Nazem Kadri left for the money as a free agent, and Toews’ strong play this season has only amplified the whispers into an audible conversation.

Elliotte Friedman was on Jeff Marek’s radio show recently and brought up the Toews-Colorado thought once again. Friedman also mentioned Vancouver center Bo Horvat, who might be a more likely trade candidate given the dumpster fire the Canucks continue to be this season.

But when you add to the long list of injuries in Colorado the news on Tuesday that Nathan MacKinnon is going to miss the next four weeks or so with an upper-body injury, the need to add becomes more immediate for an Avalanche team that is playing well but still looking up at both Dallas and Winnipeg in the standings.

  • Do the Avalanche have cap space? Not even close. According to CapFriendly, the Avs are already dipping into LTIR space and will only have roughly $3.3 million in cap space available at the trade deadline to do everything they need to do to defend their title. It’s worth keeping in mind that they have not designated an IR designation on MacKinnon yet, but even that will only further complicate next year when his massive new contract kicks in. So this deal would likely need a third team to get involved, which will only make a trade more expensive for Colorado to facilitate (even with the Blackhawks retaining 50 percent of Toews’ contract).
  • What do the Avalanche have to offer? This is as complicated as making the money work. Colorado has their own first-round picks in the next three drafts, but they do not have a pick in the second, third or fourth round in 2023 or the second or third in 2024. They’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul for a couple years to build the roster that made them champions last year, but that practice eventually catches up with an organization.

The Athletic ranked the Avs’ pipeline 23rd in the NHL in August. They have some intriguing forwards who might be more NHL-ready, however. Alex Newhook is already on the NHL roster and can skate, so he checks a box established as a priority for the Blackhawks. Oskar Olausson (the 28th overall pick in 2021) and Martin Kaut (the 16th overall pick in 2018) are also adequate skaters. Though Kaut hasn’t been able to stick in the NHL, he has a similar profile to Taylor Raddysh (decent size, good skater, hasn’t stuck in the NHL). Olausson is younger (19), but the knock on his game is that he sticks around the perimeter; the Blackhawks have made it clear they want guys who will battle between the circles.

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