Patrick Kane is a star hockey player, and a great offensive weapon. He is a big part of one of the league's best offenses in Chicago, and gives the team a top-six forward corps as good as anyone in the league.
He was the first-overall draft pick for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007, and he scored the winning goal in overtime at the 2010 Stanley Cup. Because of this, he is a fan favorite.
Since that goal, however, the Blackhawks have not won a single playoff series, and they come into 2012-13 fresh off of their second straight first round exit.
Obviously, this isn't Kane's fault.
Management had to clear up a ton of cap space in the summer after their Cup victory, leading to an eighth-place finish the following year. Also, the team's defense, goaltending and especially penalty killing (fourth-worst in hockey last year) have been liabilities to this offensively-loaded team.
Once again, this isn't Kane's fault in any way.
One thing that is Kane's fault, however, is his struggle with maturity, and his problem avoiding trouble.
In 2009, Kane and his cousin beat up a taxi driver over twenty cents. Is twenty cents worth beating someone up over? Especially if you make millions every year?
For Kane to do something this stupid, the logical thought is that he must have been intoxicated even though there is no proof that he was. If he was, however, he was breaking another law as he was only 20 at the time.
Kane was at it again in May of this year. The link has more detail, but basically Kane passed out drunk on Friday night and got kicked out of a bar. Saturday morning, he went to an all-day party judging girls to their faces, making out with a frat house president's girlfriend and once again getting kicked out, this time for trying to choke a girl.
If Kane's problems continue, his play could be affected, and his problems could escalate into more serious issues.
Looking at it from a non-personal standpoint, however, trading Kane could give the Blackhawks a package of many different things that they need.
Let's just say the Hawks don't need any offense. They have probably the deepest set of right wings in hockey with Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp (who could also be considered a left wing), and Michael Frolik.
What the Hawks need is obviously some defense and goaltending.
They have a deep set of defensemen, including Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Nick Leddy, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, and Steve Montador. The problem is, these guys, especially Seabrook, Keith and Hjalmarsson, seem offensively-minded.
They also need help with the penalty kill, which was the fourth-worst unit in hockey last year, as well as the goaltending, a mediocre pair made up of Corey Crawford and Ray Emery.
If Kane is thrown into a package with Hjalmarsson and Crawford, the Blackhawks could get a great package of exactly what they need while still maintaining a top offense, and ridding themselves of worry about Kane's troubles.
What could help in this deal is that Kane is also overvalued. He is looked upon as a star player, but has scored 30 goals only once in his five-year career.
If the Blackhawks trade Kane, they could be giving up an overvalued forward while adding more defensive depth and becoming a much more well-rounded team.
I'm not saying one of the better teams in the NHL should shop one of its most talented players, but if an opportunity to receive an extremely helpful package for someone who has an alcohol/media problem arises, the Blackhawks would be wise to jump on it.