The Chicago Blackhawks finally did it; they traded away their future Hall of Famer Patrick Kane. Everyone was wondering if and when it was going to happen. Chicago has fallen on hard times over the last few years. The rebuild writing has been all over the wall and that direction continued Tuesday.
The Blackhawks traded Kane to the New York Rangers in the latest blockbuster move ahead of the 2023 NHL trade deadline. The Rangers landed Kane and minor league defenseman Cooper Zach. In return, New York sent Chicago two conditional draft picks and minor league defenseman Andy Welinski. Chicago now owns the Rangers' 2023 second-round draft pick and their fourth-rounder in 2025. However, if the Rangers reach the conference finals this year, the former will become a deferred first-round pick in either 2024 or 2025.
Teams throughout the NHL have been very busy, but no move came with this much emotional attachment.
Patrick Kane spent all 16 years of his pro career with Chicago. He was a major piece of three Stanley Cup titles along the way, prompting fans to pour their emotional hearts out after the move was made official. Patrick Kane himself had kinds words to say after being dealt to New York.
But it's time to put the emotions aside. Let's grade the Patrick Kane trade to the New York Rangers.
Grade the Blackhawks Rangers Trade: Patrick Kane to New York
The addition of defenseman Andy Welinski was clearly just tossed into the deal. He is a 29-year-old who was drafted back in 2011 by the Anaheim Ducks. Over the last 12 years, he has played in 46 career NHL games, amassing a total of a goal and five assists. It is unlikely he adds anything to the big club anytime soon.
All of the value comes from the draft picks. The Rangers have a very good team and stand a chance of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals this season. If that were to happen, Chicago has a first-round pick to go with their fourth rounder. That is a decent haul considering Kane is an aging superstar living more off of his name than performance these days.
The Blackhawks are nowhere near contending, so this was a wise move and decent trade for Chicago.
New York is looking to win now. They have not won a Stanley Cup since Mark Messier and the boys captured a title back in the mid 1990's. It's been a long time coming and they are trying to go all-in to position themselves for another deep run.
Everyone knows that goaltending is crucial come playoff time. The Rangers have one of the league's best netminders in Igor Shesterkin. Jaroslav Halak is probably one of the best backups in the NHL also. So, you know they will have a chance to advance come playoff time.
The question is can they score enough? That is something they have struggled with in recent years. Kane certainly will add another goal scorer and playmaker. He is projected to play alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad on the top line. However, if Vladimir Tarasenko remains in that spot, coach Gerard Gallant could very easily have him play with Artemi Panarin on the second line.
The trade certainly makes the Rangers offense more formidable. But two of the last three years, we have seen a significant decline in Kane's production. It remains to be seen just how much of a difference he can make.
Knowing how unbelievably stacked the Eastern Conference is, going all-in now is a bold move, Cotton. Sorry, I love that movie and couldn't help myself. The Lightning are still an elite team. The Maple Leafs are incredibly stacked and the Boston Bruins are on pace for the greatest record in the history of hockey. It's still going to be an uphill climb to add another Cup.