When Patrick Kane’s name first entered the throes of trade speculation early this year, there were as many skeptics as believers that the Chicago Blackhawks would ever move on from their franchise-defining superstar. One of the greatest American players of all time and a slam-dunk top-five Blackhawk of all time, Kane’s play has been the defining part of the most successful on-ice period in Chicago’s history.
The team is in a landslide now, though, going 2-9-4 in their past 15 games after a 4-2-0 start to the year. While this poor play was expected, maybe even intended, with the shimmering status of 2023’s top prospects, The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus believes that Kane, while he remains inextricably tied to Chicago and could quickly return as a free agent next offseason, “doesn’t seem to be having that much fun out there” and could opt for a trade to a contender at this year’s deadline.
After shattering point-per-game paces for the past four seasons, even as the quality of the team dwindled around him, Kane’s performance is taking a step back in 2022-23. The 34-year-old right wing has 16 points and just three goals through 21 games on the year, on pace for just 62 points over a full campaign. It would be a career-low for him, excluding the shortened 2012-13 season (55 points in 47 games).
The three-time Stanley Cup champion is coming up on 1,200 career points and seems to have still at least a few seasons of competitive hockey left in him. Those seasons could still come in Chicago, coming back next season with more young prospects on the NHL roster for him to work with. But with the superstar finally seeming to start his decline, a trade may be one of Kane’s last chances to play on a contending team.