Trading Patrick Kane: Dumb idea or the dumbest idea?
(NBC Sports)–“I look at Chicago and I see Pat Kane with 12 goals, and I’m sitting there going, “Something’s not right, something’s not right.” Fifty-six games, he’s playing 20 minutes a game and he’s got 12 goals. I don’t know if they think that maybe just getting a goalie — whether it’s [Evgeni] Nabokov, or you go to the extreme and you get Ryan Miller out of Buffalo — but it just can’t be about goaltending here. You wonder whether maybe, between [Jonathan] Toews, [Marian] Hossa, [Patrick] Sharp, that you wouldn’t dangle a Patrick Kane? Maybe it’s time? I tell you what — you can fix a lot if you decide to move him.–Nik Kypreos
People need to stop it with this “trade Patrick Kane” nonsense. It’s not going to happen, nor should it. It seems every four months or so somebody is banging the drums to get Kane run out of town. Kypreos’s comments got picked up by CSN Chicago and was discussed at length last night. Kane is having a terrible year offensively. He is on pace for a career-low 66 points. However, trading him for Ryan Miller or anything else is the most asinine line of thinking possible. The Blackhawks’ offense isn’t the problem. The Hawks have struggled lately, but still rank 4th in the NHL is goals per game. It’s the defense that is the issue. The meathead “I love hockey, Toes is my favorite player” will talk about Kane being poor defensively and how he is lazy. Numbers simply don’t support that line of thinking. Kane is getting 20 minutes of ice-time per night, struggling to score, and is STILL a +9 on the season playing for a team that gives up a ton of goals.
Just for kicks, let’s take a look at what trading Patrick Kane for Ryan Miller would mean for the Blackhawks.
- Philosophical shift: While Kane isn’t scoring enough he is still a very important part of the Blackhawks offensive system. The Blackhawks are team built around puck possession and carrying the puck into the offensive zone. Nobody possesses the puck better than Patrick Kane. Trading Kane would force the Blackhawks to shift away from a philosophy that won them the Stanley Cup.
- Scoring vacuum: The Blackhawks are carried offensively by four players. Kane, Toews, Hossa, and Sharp have done an admirable job keeping this team afloat since secondary scoring has been difficult to find. Trading Kane for Miller would create an immediate black hole in the top 6. The Blackhawks are planning on playing Sharp-Toews-Kane on the first line tonight against Nashville. Leaving Hossa to play with Andrew Brunette and Marcus Kruger. Now imagine replacing Kane with Frolik, Bickell, or Stalberg on the top line and the 2nd line is still Brunette-Kruger-Hossa. The Hawks would go from being one of the top offensive teams to at best a middle of the league offensive team over night. Opposing teams would throw their top checkers against the Toews line 100% of the time because the second line would pose a minimal threat.
- Goaltending Issues: Just in case you didn’t notice…it’s not 2010 anymore. Ryan Miller’s game isn’t sharp like it once was and Buffalo isn’t in the playoff picture. Miller is obviously an upgrade over Crawford at this point, but he is no longer one of the top 5 goalies in the NHL.
- Salary Cap Issues: Ryan Miller has a cap hit of $6.25 million through the 2014 season. Corey Crawford has a cap hit of $2.67 million also running through the 2014 season. Which means that the Blackhawks would have $8,916,667 tied up in goalies against the cap. The Blackhawks would probably try to trade Crawford if they acquired Miller, but you have to assume Crawford has almost zero value at this point and the Blackhawks probably wouldn’t be able to get anything that could make an impact on the varsity. If the Blackhawks did make that trade they very well could have another Huet situation on their hands.
I get that people don’t like Patrick Kane for a couple of reasons. Yeah, he likes to party. He’s 23 years-old…who doesn’t like to party. People assume that because TMZ has caught him out on the town a few times that it means he doesn’t take hockey seriously. Well that couldn’t be further from the truth. I met Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Havilad at a bar in October. He and I talked hockey and Blackhawks for about 40 minutes. He said that Patrick Kane is one of, if not THE hardest worker on the team. People also think Patrick Kane is soft because he never fights and seldom hits. Well…that’s simply not his game. Wanting Kane to be a physical player who fights is like wanting Jay Cutler to play defensive tackle. It would be a mistake to say that Kane isn’t tough though. Kane is NOT a perimeter player like an Alex Semin. He goes to hard areas and will pay the price to score.
Kane is a gifted player who sees and does things on the ice that nobody else in the NHL can. To trade him for anything, let alone a struggling goalie would be a monumental mistake. Kane is projected to finish the season with 66 points. I’ll take the over.
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