Is Patrick Kane Going to the Rangers? Or Not?
The Patrick Kane Saga might be nearing a climax. In theory. Maybe.
Thursday night has been a rollercoaster. Over the past few days — with Kane enjoying a hot streak that reminded the hockey world that he’s still Patrick F***ing Kane — his name has skyrocketed back to the top of most trade boards. He’s white hot and teams have started lining back up.
When the New York Rangers acquired top-line right wing Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis, it appeared to put the Rangers out of the mix for Kane. According to CapFriendly, the Rangers will have $908,667 of cap space at the deadline; Kane’s cap hit, if the Blackhawks retain half, is well above that number.
And Kane was openly not thrilled that it appeared the Rangers were out.
But then, on Wednesday night, a report surfaced from Larry Brooks that the Rangers were back in the mix for Kane — despite already adding Tarasenko. Reports like that don’t crop up out of nowhere this time of year; where there’s smoke, often times there’s some level of fuego nearby.
With that report out there, Hart Levine, founder of PuckPedia, was on NHL Network television and discussed how the Rangers might make a deal for Kane work.
In another segment on the network, Levine outlined a scenario in which the Rangers would need to make the contracts of Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn disappear asap to buy them a few days of cap space and then find a third-party team to eat some cap space to make the money work; the Rangers are up against the cap after using most of it to get Tarasenko.
So… when this hit Twitter the world melted:
And by “roster management reasons” they meant to say “trade reasons.”
As Levine shared on television, these are a couple dominos that need to start falling before a deal can be consummated.
Now, the hundred dollar question of course becomes: Is the deal… done?
This is still evolving, and the financials likely mean this deal won’t be done tonight (maybe not until the actual deadline), but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, just because Kravtsov and Leschyshyn were scratched does not mean they are what the Blackhawks are getting back. Indeed, if we have paid attention to anything Kyle Davidson has done since becoming the Blackhawks’ general manager we would know he’s aiming for draft picks.
The Rangers already traded one of their first round picks in 2023 to the Blues for Tarasenko, but they have another one still; they acquired Dallas’ first-round pick for defenseman Nils Lundkvist previously. The Blues are reportedly receiving the later of the two first-round picks the Rangers controlled.
With that being said, Kravtsov is a 23-year-old winger with decent size (6-3, 190) who was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. He’s asked out of New York previously; he played last season in the KHL and is in the final year of his contract. He’ll be a RFA this summer.
If the Blackhawks acquired him in the deal, it would be a bet on a young player finding something in Chicago that he didn’t in New York. Which… makes some of us a little uncomfortable because we remember Alex Nylander. But this front office has found decent success with players like Jason Dickinson and Taylor Raddysh.
Leschyshyn, who turns 24 on March 10, was a second-round pick by the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017. The Rangers claimed him off waivers from Vegas on Jan. 11 and he hasn’t produced a point in 13 games for New York this season. He has two more years on his contract with a $766,667 cap hit.
Again, this does not mean either player who was a healthy scratch is involved in a trade for Kane. Just giving some background on them.
I’ll stay on the Patrick Kane Trade Watch as the scenario continues to play out but it certainly appears that something involving the Rangers could be in the cards.