Why Patrick Kane Has Been the Chicago Blackhawks MVP Thus Far

Joseph Sykes@JoeSykes4Contributor IIIFebruary 20, 2014

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 5:  Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck against Hampus Lindholm #47 of the Anaheim Ducks on February 5, 2014 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
Debora Robinson/Getty Images

It can be sometimes difficult to recognize the All-Star athlete on a powerhouse squad like the Chicago Blackhawks, but the 2013-14 season has been all about Patrick Kane, who is worthy of being the team’s MVP.

The Blackhawks are not one of those teams that rely solely on one or two players to carry the load. Kane, who is currently lending his efforts to Team USA in Sochi, has been dominating the ice along with his fellow teammates. This year’s effort has led the Blackhawks to a 35-11-14 record, the third-best in the league.

The Buffalo, N.Y native can analyze the situation on ice with near-perfect precision. He is always looking for the best way to put his team on top. This is why we do not see him every year with 40-plus goal seasons like Alexander Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos.

What we do see are seasons where Kane averages about 25 goals and 44 assists.

The winger's stats prove that this is not an individual sport, but he still is deserving of being named the team’s most valuable player.

Kane is currently on pace to break his personal record of most goals scored in a season. He scored 30 in 2010 and currently has 27. It may seem far-fetched, but the 25-year-old could break his points record of 88, which was also set back in 2010. He has 63 points as of now.

Kane is an incredible passer as well.

His ability to thread the needle to set up his teammates with scoring opportunities is a reason he was named to Team USA’s Olympic roster.

Whoever head coach Joel Quenneville decides to place Kane with, he knows they almost always click. Team USA coach Dan Bylsma most likely picked Kane because of this factor.

Kane is a very versatile offensive player.

In Sochi, he has played with the likes of Dustin Brown and Zach Parise, two extremely contrasting players. In Chicago, he does not have to be the multi-role player, but the fact that he can makes him unbelievably dangerous.

Quenneville is always still in awe by what the reigning Conn Smythe winner can do with the puck. "He doesn't mind playing with everybody or anybody," Quenneville said to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc. "That shows the type of player that he is, that he’s got that ability to improvise, and it seems like he has the puck a lot."

Kane has two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe and a silver Olympic medal, but this year is going to be his best yet.

Patrick Kane's career statistics since first Stanley Cup win
NHL.com (Lockout year not included)

After the first Cup win back in 2010, many worried he was falling into a slump. His play dropped in every crucial statistic up until this year. Each year until and including the Blackhawks second Stanley Cup run has been a big challenge for Kane.

No matter what medal he heads home with from Sochi, Kane will look to close out this season’s home stretch with a chance at winning the President’s Trophy for the second year by scoring and helping others score.

It is still unknown what Quenneville wants to do with his lines after the Olympic break. He could go with what was working before the break when Kane was playing on the first forward line with Patrick Sharp and captain Jonathan Toews.

Chicago has two top 10 goalscorers this year in Kane and Sharp, so that will be interesting to see how well they will work together. There is no question with Toews and Kane for Chicago fans, as those two have been synonymous with productivity.

Still, Kane is not the type of guy that is looking to beef up his own personal stat book. He wants to sip from Lord Stanley’s cup for a third time.

He can do that by just continuing to make plays. This is his best season since he won his first Cup in 2010, thus earning him the right to be named team MVP so far this season.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.