NHL Trade Grades: Patrick Kane Puts Rangers Over The Top?

The trade

Rangers get: Forward Patrick Kane (50 percent of salary retained by Blackhawks, 25 percent by Coyotes), defender Cooper Zech

The Blackhawks get: Conditional 2023 second-round pick (becomes first-round pick if Rangers reach conference finals), 2025 fourth-round pick, defenseman Andy Welinski, defenseman Vili Saarijarvi

Coyotes get: 2025 election in the third round

Shayna Goldman: It’s the same old story: Rangers trade for a marquee name past its prime. However, the key difference here is that they are not looking to be the best game breaker like other moves that fit this pattern. This was a secondary trade that came after already added Vladimir Tarasenko and it didn’t cost that much.

The Rangers have been busy, but even with Tarasenko, Nikko Mikkola and Tyler Motte, it felt like this team needed one several moves to strengthen their top nine. Enter Kane – a player who basically manifested this trade into existence.

There’s definitely some risk associated with this deal on the ice, which is why it helps New York that he’s not the only right winger they added before the deadline. Putting aside the on-ice issues surrounding the player, the hip injury is one concern, his offense wilting is another, as is his defensive lapse. But a change of scenery is the game-changer here; Kane’s environment in Chicago has been horrible, and it’s only gotten more challenging over the past year. He’ll want elite talent in New York, whether it’s Artemi Panarin or Mika Zibanejad, to help elevate his game closer to the heights everyone expects from him come playoff time. Already, on the struggling Blackhawks team, during his last stretch of games, he proved that he still has gas left in the tank.

By adding Kane, the Rangers have many more options within their lineup to mix and match throughout the top nine. That’s a big difference from last postseason, when their versatility was much more limited. Defense may be an issue, between both of their newly acquired right wings, but this team has plenty of firepower and strong goaltending that should make up for it.

The returns are underwhelming for Chicago, but opportunities were limited. The player wanted a certain team, and the Blackhawks either had to find a way to make it happen or not trade him at all. It is quite disappointing for management that their two major trades, Kane and Jonathan Toews, did not return what they hoped; The Blackhawks have only a conditional second and a fourth to show for the pair. It just underscores why they should have pushed for better returns in other commodities over the past year instead of relying too heavily on this duo to bring back the perfect returns that could facilitate their rebuild.

Rangers: ONE
Blackhawks: C+
Coyotes: B+

Dom Luszczyszyn: Kane got his way, he’s a New York Ranger. We knew he would be for the last week, but now it’s finally official and we can finally talk about what that means.

You will hear a lot about how Kane is not the player he once was. That he is not as valuable as his reputation. That he is one of the league’s worst defenders. That he has washed the dishes. That his hip injury has made him a non-factor. That he will hurt the Rangers more than he helps.

There’s truth to some of that, but a lot of it is exaggerated — a disservice to the talent Kane still brings to the ice. Yes, Kane’s numbers this year are weak. His five-on-five point rate has dipped below two for just the second time in his career. His expected field goal rate has dropped way down to an ugly 37 percent, and the Blackhawks have only 41 percent of actual field goals to show for it. His usually lackluster defensive numbers have reached new heights: 3.8 expected goals-against per 60. That’s half a goal worse than the average Blackhawk.

But what did we really expect given the disaster around him? Kane helplessly giving his all for a team designed to fail while knowing his days with the only team he’s ever known were numbered? No man succeeds under such circumstances. When questions arose about his inability to shine in Toronto last week, Kane stepped up with seven goals and 10 points in four games. It was a week of evidence. To show that he still can. A foreplay, a taste of what he can still be. Showtime on Broadway.

The Rangers are still getting an elite offensive force whether he’s shown much of it this year or not. On a team with so many weapons, Kane will thrive. The questions about his defense are very real, but on this team — with this supporting cast and this goalie — they’re less of an issue. Kane on an elite team is very different from Kane on one of the league’s worst. He will actually get help for the first time in a long time.

Kane is a perfect fit here. He knew it, and so did the Rangers. So much so that the bottom line for the Blackhawks is pennies: not even a guaranteed first. The Rangers and Kane had all the leverage, so it’s hard to fault Chicago here too much, but the Blackhawks still let Kane go for an obviously underwhelming package. It affects their character here.

The return isn’t the story here – although it’s nice for the Rangers that they didn’t have to pay big here to get their guy. The story is that Kane is where he wants to be and is ready to prove everyone who doubted him wrong. Forget the numbers from this year because they are about to change drastically. It’s underway.

Rangers: ONE
Blackhawks: B-
Coyotes: ONE-

(Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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