Breaking Down Why Chicago Blackhawks Star Patrick Kane Is So Creative

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Breaking Down Why Chicago Blackhawks Star Patrick Kane Is So Creative
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Kane is one of those special NHL players who's worth the price of admission every night.

Very rarely do fans who go to the United Center to watch the Chicago Blackhawks forward score brilliant goals and set up teammates with sensational passes leave disappointed.

As part of a roster loaded with stars, Kane is the player who makes the Blackhawks one of the most exciting and fun teams to watch, regardless if you root for them or not.

Kane is currently in the midst of his finest season as an NHL player, one that could end with him winning the Hart Trophy at the league's year-end awards ceremony.

Let's break down what makes Kane such a creative winger and one of the top playmakers in the NHL.

 

 

Game-breaking Speed, Incredible Quickness

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

From the moment he touches the puck in his own zone, Kane flies up the ice with his tremendous speed and quickness, instantly putting fear into the defensemen who will soon attempt to defend him.

Nearly every rush up the ice creates an increasing level of excitement from the fans in attendance because Kane is capable of doing something amazing on each shift. Very few players have better skating skills than Kane, who weaves in out of tight spaces and past opponents with expert precision.

One fine example of Kane's quickness was the move he put on Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen just before the Blackhawks star scored the series-clinching goal of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final (video below).

Kane's speed makes him the most difficult one-on-one matchup in the league for any defenseman. Not only does Kane have a large amount of effective dangles, he is talented enough to pull them off at full speed, which makes him so tough to defend in open ice.

 

 

Amazing Passing Skills

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

When Kane enters the attacking zone, some defensemen back off of him because they don't want to be beaten by his speed, but that creates a scenario in which the Blackhawks winger has the time and space needed to get a quality shot off or find an open teammate.

Many of Kane's SportsCenter highlights are goals, especially ones that happen in shootouts, but some of his most impressive plays are his perfect passes that result in goals scored by his teammates.

Kane made Blackhawks history last season with his impressive assist totals, and if the 2013 season used a full 82-game schedule, the 24-year-old winger would be on pace for 56 assists, which is only two less than his career high.

Speaking of Denis Savard, he gave defensemen nightmares with his unbelievable spin-o-rama goals and assists, which is also a move that's a big part of Kane's playmaking repertoire.

He uses this move to score and dish out highlight-reel assists. His most recent spin-o-rama move happened in the Blackhawks' 8-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on March 16.

Kane's high hockey IQ and fantastic instincts are two attributes that make him a very gifted passer. Even though he has incredible goal-scoring skills and one of the best wrist shots in the league, Kane is not afraid to set up his teammates before he considers taking a shot on goal. His unselfish play has made him one of the most complete players in the league.

 

 

Superb Vision/Hands

Kane's vision and ability to see the ice so well is a bit similar to Boston Bruins center Marc Savard, who when healthy, was one of the NHL's best playmaking centers. Both Savard and Kane are fantastic playmakers because they create offense out of nothing.

The young star understands where the next pass should go before he touches the puck, and he knows exactly where to find his teammates on the ice.

Since Kane is so dangerous with the puck on the blade of his stick, he draws so much attention from opposing players, which creates lanes to the net that his teammates skate into.

You also have to look hard to find someone with a better pair of hands than Kane. His soft hands allow him to stick-handle his way into the heart of the defense and make passes (example below) that are perfectly timed to put his teammates in a position to score.

His hands also allow him to make incredible saucer passes over the sticks of opposing players that his teammates can take advantage of (example below).

 

Shootout Skill

Since the shootout is such an important part of the NHL nowadays, teams need to make sure they have one or two players who can dangle goaltenders and help their club earn an important extra point in the standings.

Chicago is fortunate to have several highly skilled forwards to select for the shootout, and since Kane is the most dangerous one-on-one forward in the game, he is always one of the first two shooters for head coach Joel Quenneville in shootout situations.

Kane and teammate Jonathan Toews are the only players who have nine shootout attempts this season, and they have each scored five times (55.6 percent success rate). Three of Kane's shootout goals decided the outcome of the game.

Among the 13 players with seven shootout attempts this season, Kane is one of the five who has scored in 55 percent or more of his opportunities.

He's a nightmare for goalies in this type of situation because they never know how Kane will approach each attempt. He can come in with speed and use a quick dangle, or slow way down and keep the goalie guessing until the very end. With so many moves and one of the best wrist shots in the world, Kane is the NHL's best shootout player.

 

 

Creativity at its Finest

No other winger in the NHL has a better combination of goal-scoring, speed and playmaking ability than Kane.

Most of the league's best playmakers are centers, but Kane is the rare winger who has the ability to score an incredible goal on one shift and then set up another by making a jaw-dropping pass the next time he steps onto the ice.

Sometimes it looks like Kane is just ad-libbing on the ice because of the remarkable moves he makes on opposing players, but he knows exactly what he's doing.

Kane is the most exciting player in the NHL?

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Kane's talent and previous success give him the confidence needed to try a bold move in any type of situation, and the problem for defensemen is that you never know which move he will take out of his bag of tricks and embarrass you with.

Through 38 games this season, Kane leads the Blackhawks in scoring with 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists). In addition to his consistent offensive production and return to elite status, the wow factor has also returned to Kane's game, which makes him arguably the most exciting player to watch in the NHL.

 

Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter. He was a credentialed reporter at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and 2012 NHL playoffs in Boston.

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