With the NHL trade deadline just 10 days away, any team that thinks it has a shot at the Stanley Cup is going to be desperate to address any major weaknesses. And while the Chicago Blackhawks are among the most talented teams in the league, they have one major shortcoming: goaltending.
The Hawks have given the majority of starts this year to Corey Crawford, and he has not risen to the occasion. Before yesterday's 4-2 win against the Rangers, Crawford was 0-4-1 in his previous five starts, giving up 19 goals during that span.
Both Crawford and backup Ray Emery have save percentages below .900 and goals-against averages above 2.8.
If the Blackhawks want to make a deep playoff run, they will need to get a better goalie on their roster.
And, as Jeremy Roenick put it on The Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000, "If you really want a top end goaltender, you need to give up somebody."
With that, here are three reasons why that somebody should be Patrick Kane.
Despite the fact that Kane has as high a cap hit as anyone on the roster—higher than everyone besides Toews—the young forward is currently fourth on the team in scoring, with 46 points in 58 games.
With just 12 goals—fewer than teammates Dave Bolland or Viktor Stalberg—Kane is on pace to miss the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career. 0.79 isn't a bad point-per-game average for the typical NHLer, but for someone of Kane's caliber, it simply isn't good enough.
When it comes down to it, a hockey team is a business, and players are assets. And despite the fact that he is not shining on the team right now, Patrick Kane is still a very valuable asset.
Kane turned 23 in November, but has accomplished a great deal in his career thus far. He's had at least 21 goals, 45 assists and 70 points in each of his first four seasons. Even if he's underperforming this year, a lot of teams would give up a high-quality netminder to get him.
Earlier this week, there were discussions on the merits of a straight-up Ryan Miller swap. And though that might have just been discussion, Kane would certainly warrant a goalie near Miller's quality.
The Blackhawks have a pretty loaded roster. The big three that seem to be the heart of the offense are captain Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.
All three of these players are in the top 18 in the league in goals. Toews, Hossa and Sharp have 27, 22 and 23, respectively. They're all at least +16, and each has at least one shorthanded goal.
Though Kane might be more naturally talented than some of them, he just can't keep up numbers-wise. On the show noted earlier, Roenick admitted, "as much as I don't want to say it, they can afford to get rid of Patrick Kane.
The only statistic where Kane has impressed this year has been his 34 assists, which are tied with Hossa for best on the team. Yes, it would be hard to find someone to match those numbers, but I believe the Hawks are deep enough to cover the difference.
Beyond the trio, the Blackhawks also have many other talented players to step in should Kane leave. As mentioned earlier, Bolland and Stalberg both have more goals than Kane, with 16 and 15, respectively.
They have promising youngsters like Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes, and balance them out with seasoned veterans like Andrew Brunette and Brendan Morrison.
The defense is among the most talented in the league, featuring Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Steve Montador and Nick Leddy, among others.
With almost all of the pieces in place, the Blackhawks just have one major issue facing them: finding a goalie who can put up a save percentage over .900.
Skilled though they may be, if they don't plug that leak soon, they won't stand a chance in the postseason.