The worst-kept secret in the NHL finally came to fruition on Tuesday night as the New York Rangers acquired former Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane, on the short list of top American players in NHL history, from the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. The Rangers are in Philadelphia tonight but Kane will not debut then but instead Thursday at home vs. Ottawa.
NHL News: Patrick Kane To Make New York Rangers Debut Thursday Vs. Senators
When: March 2
Where: Madison Square Garden, NY
Time: 7:00 PM EST
The trade took a while to officially happen because the Rangers had to clear the requisite salary cap space. Chicago will retain 50% of Kane’s $10.5 million contract, and the Arizona Coyotes signed on to take on 50% of that, meaning Kane will count for only $2.625 million against the Rangers’ cap.
The Coyotes got a draft pick for their troubles and Chicago got a conditional 2023 second-round pick and a 2025 fourth-rounder. The 2023 second-round pick will become a first-rounder if the Rangers make the Eastern Conference finals. However, that first-round pick would be in 2024 or 2025.
Not a huge price for such a good player as Kane, but he held all the leverage with a no-trade clause and only wanted to go to the Rangers. It was a market relatively close to his parents in Western New York and it would give him another shot at the Stanley Cup playoffs.
New York had to make several transactions just to get the numbers to work to add Kane. On Saturday, the Rangers unloaded fringe winger Vitali Kravtsov and his $875,000 salary-cap hit to the Vancouver Canucks for prospect Will Lockwood and a seventh-round pick in 2026. They waived fourth-liner Jake Leschyshyn and sent down defenseman Braden Schneider on Sunday to clear cap space.
In New York, Kane will be reunited with Artemi Panarin — his linemate for two seasons in Chicago, including Panarin’s Calder Trophy-winning rookie season in 2015-16. Kane tallied 80 goals and 115 assists for 195 points in 164 games. That span also included his MVP season in 2015-16. If Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant puts Kane and Panarin back together, that could be the spark that ignites Kane again.
New York’s top six forwards match up with anyone in the NHL — and in many cases eclipse them. Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin on left wing; Mika Zibanejad and Vincent Trocheck at center; Kane and fellow trade acquisition Vladimir Tarasenko on right wing.
There is only one objective for the Rangers and that is to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 29 years and the second time since 1940. GM Chris Drury, who was Kane’s teammate on the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team, is obsessed with ending this latest multi-decade drought. Which Kane are the Rangers getting? The one who scored seven goals in his last four games as a Blackhawk? Or the one who recorded nine goals in his first 50 contests while apparently dealing with a hip issue?
Kane, who has 16 goals and 29 assists in 54 games this season, comes to the Rangers with three Stanley Cups under his belt. He is a proven playoff performer, having posted 52 goals and 80 assists for 132 points in 136 postseason games over his 16-year NHL career. At 34 years old, Kane probably isn’t that player anymore but still a very good one.
“This isn’t about me leaving the Blackhawks, but this is an opportunity for me — the Blackhawks did everything they could to put me in a great position and I will forever be grateful. It is bittersweet to leave a place that is so special to me, but I will always carry the memories we made in Chicago.”
The Rangers are now +900 to win the Stanley Cup, behind the Boston Bruins (+475), Colorado Avalanche (+650), Carolina Hurricanes (+800) and Toronto Maple Leafs (+850). The Rangers probably will face the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference semifinals and then Boston or Toronto could be waiting in the East Finals.
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