There is no getting around the fact that Kane's antics have made a bit of a stir in the Windy City. The reality of it is, more likely than not, Kane will stay put and be a part of the 'Hawks next season.
It perhaps will end up being a business decision more than anything else. Regardless of what is out there or what the 'Hawks may get in return, the No. 88 jersey still carries a lot of weight in Chicago.
Youth hockey players and fans in the area still hold Kane close to their hearts and with good reason. We are a mere two years away from Kaner scoring the most memorable goal in Blackhawks history.
So, I would would not put a ton of cake on the 'Hawks dealing Kane right now. From a marketing standpoint, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
But let's just say for argument's sake that the rumors that everyone is blabbing about are true. What if Stan Bowman and company have had it with Kane? What if they want him out on all costs? Let's pretend that we as fans and bloggers have any idea what is going on inside the war room in the United Center. Let's suggest that a deal is imminent.
What are they trying to accomplish? What do they want in return for Kane? Could it be picks, another center, a power forward, a goalie, defensive help, a useful package of proven talent, or perhaps get minimal proven NHL value in an effort to free up cap space and take a serious run at an unrestricted free agent?
Unfortunately, in truth, the Hawks need help in all of those areas. They are able to score goals in the regular season, but when push came to shove in 2011-12, they did not have the tools to get it done.
If they lost Kane, they would lose a player that has scored an average of 25 goals and 74 points in his first five NHL seasons. Although he only tallied 66 points, a career low, in 2011-12, he had the misfortune of playing a number of different positions up front while the 'Hawks unsuccessfully searched for an identity.
He has a ring, has been clutch when it matters, is marketable, and has the raw offensive skill so many teams desire.
Yup, you could get something significant for No. 88, but maybe not as much as people would think. Let's look at some options.
Target Big Market Players:
It depends on who you are looking for. Do the 'Hawks want to pursue a center like Jordan Staal, who keeps coming up in trade rumors? Do you want to go after Rick Nash, who has also been talked about being dealt?
Don't count on Staal, as Kane probably doesn't fit what the Penguins are looking for. Stan Bowman may also ask for something in addition to Staal if he is going to send Kaner to Pittsburgh. The Pens need as much defensive help as the 'Hawks do, and there is little chance that they would be willing the part with the likes of Paul Martin or Brooks Orpik.
I would love to throw Leddy in there to get an additional defender, but he represents everything that is wrong with the 'Hawks' and Penguins' top six, so let's park that thought as the Pens wouldn't want him. A Kane and Staal package would not work for either side.
Rick Nash would be great, but considering Columbus would be trading within their division and the fact that Nash brings more of a complete player package to the mix, one should expect that Columbus would ask for more than just Kane. That would be tough.
Hey, if Columbus asked for Kane and a first-rounder for Nash and a second- or third-rounder, Bowman should jump all over it. Nash and Columbus want a divorce and a player of Kane's popularity would be what the Blue Jackets need to get fans back in the seats...or in the seats for that matter. I dare to dream.
So if the 'Hawks want a big name in return it will have to be someone with a little less of star power than what Kane brings. Few teams in their right minds would be willing to part ways with an elite, two-way forward to bring in someone who can only truly play in one end of the ice. It's just not logical.
If you want to go the forward route, the 'Hawks should consider sending Kane to a team like the Buffalo Sabres, for Derek Roy, and a first- or second-round pick. Or trade Kane, a pick and a prospect for Roy and a useful top-six defenseman like Andrej Sekera.
After two dismal long-term signings in the 2011 offseason and then missing the postseason, the Sabres can make amends with their fan base by bringing in a hometown favorite. Plus, having the 'Hawks top three centers as Jonathan Toews, Derek Roy and Dave Bolland would be an excellent move.
On to defenseman. The idea that the 'Hawks could trade Kane for an elite defenseman is not realistic. That is if the "Hawks are looking to just get rid of Kane. And folks, get the idea out of your head that you can package Kane and Michael Frolik and get something back.
Kane makes enough money and Frolik makes way too much to go with him. Those two hits on a team's cap regardless of who they give up is too much to ask.
A Proven Goalie and Change
Realistically, it would be great for the 'Hawks to get help in goal, and a proven netminder coming to Chicago would certainly help. At the same time, Bowman will want to prove that his resigning of Corey Crawford was no mistake and he will want to run with that option.
Yes, the idea of Ryan Miller for Kane has been tossed around. It sounds great, but with holes at center and defense, the 'Hawks will more than likely not want to trade Kane only to absorb a $6.25 million-a-year hit between the pipes.
Suppose the 'Hawks would want help in this position, it would more than likely need to be for a lesser name and an addition for Kane. Take for example a goalie like Jean Sebastian Giguere for the Colorado Avalanche. He has a Conn Smythe under his belt, makes a little over $1 million and could be really useful.
Trade Kane for for Giguere, perhaps a pick or prospect and the rights to restricted free agent Matt Duchene and you are in business. Getting a netminder and a solid option at center would be nice. Duchene had an off-year in Colorado, but he would be a nice ingredient in Chicago.
If I had to chose, I would keep Kane as opposed to going for this option, but if Stan feels he has to get some sort of goalie in return, which he should not, this would be it. But this doesn't sound that good, does it?
The only way a move like this would make sense is if the 'Hawks were sure they could land a premier free-agent in the offseason.
A Serviceable Player and Cap Space
If Kane is to be moved then this would be the best case. Sure, get something for him. You don't just trade a player of his skill for junk, but don't go for the home run and save cash for a big-time player.
Two names have surfaced as the cream of the crop in the free-agent market. Both the New Jersey Devils' Zach Parise and the Nashville Predators' Ryan Suter are going to be highly sought after come July 1. If you asked me a month ago, I would have said Suter all the way, but after watching Parise in the 2012 postseason, I would have to flip a coin.
Regardless of having a crush on these two guys, as of now, the 'Hawks may not have the scratch to get this done. Yes, the NHL salary cap may increase to upwards of $70 million for next season, and while that could help the Hawks land one of these two, they still will need money to fill other holes.
If they traded Kane for a top-six defenseman, a young, high-level prospect and/or a first-round pick, that would create some breathing room. Shedding Kane's $6.3 million dollar salary in favor of a player that makes half the amount and future talent would be the best-case scenario. And hey...we know Stan loves his prospects.
The Derek Roy scenario could also support this initiative.
So if he has to go, call Dale Tallon. He drafted Kane and Florida has become a haven for former 'Hawks. You know he would listen.
If you could pry 19-year-old defenseman Erik Gudbranson away from The Panthers and an additional first-round pick, then do it. That would give the 'Hawks more than enough wiggle room to sign one of the two big summer names and have some significant future talent in the pipeline.
This could be an option with a number of different teams. At the same time, if the 'Hawks go for something like this, then they better deliver with a significant free-agent signing. If not, this could end up being a disaster.
He's not Going Anywhere
Snap back to reality.
In the end, the likelihood of Patrick Kane being traded is minimal. He is still a name in Chicago and if the 'Hawks take the risk of dealing the 23-year-old right now, the city may never forgive the organization.
He has off-the-ice concerns, or does he? We do not know anything other than the pictures we see Online, how much fun he had at the parade or the youtube karaoke clips we see. Hardly odd behavior for someone in their young twenties. We question but have no real knowledge on how much this is affecting the inner workings of the 'Hawks' circle.
Bet on Kaner to be in red and black next year. It's fun to kick the idea of a trade around, and when Stan Bowman's phone rings, there may be some intriguing options to consider. Kane may move on one day, but it won't come in the summer of 2012. At the end of the day, Kane stays put.
Thanks for reading.