It’s nearing decision time for the best free agent remaining on the market. Longtime Chicago Blackhawk and brief New York Ranger Patrick Kane is almost at the end of a long recovery process from hip resurfacing surgery, and multiple reports expect Kane to start contract discussion with teams in the coming days to determine his playing home for 2023-24.
Multiple teams have reported interest in Kane throughout the summer and into the season. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli threw a new name into the mix today: a reunion with the Rangers, whom Seravalli says “are paying attention to Kane” as he nears a return. Seravalli had the following to say about the Rangers’ interest:
You saw what they had to give up last year to get him; they knew at the time he wasn’t fully healthy. It didn’t quite come together like it probably should have, but I think they were really impressed with the way he entered and was a leader. They were just kind of hoping, wishing and praying he’d be at the Kane 88 showtime level we are used to. I think in the back of his mind, he’s also certainly intrigued on what it would be like to go back there. Maybe sort of finally put that piece back together.
The Rangers acquired Kane in a three-way deal with the Coyotes last February, trading a second and fourth-round pick to the Blackhawks and a third-round pick to the Coyotes to retain half of his contract. They also sent minor-league defenseman Andy Welinski to the Blackhawks in the trade. Kane’s stint in the Big Apple was underwhelming considering his reputation, but many fans weren’t surprised at his solid but not star-level play. He potted five goals and seven assists in 19 games down the stretch and added a goal and five assists in the team’s first-round loss to the Devils. Still, his nagging hip injury and long-declining advanced metrics limited his effectiveness.
Most wrote off an offseason reunion due to the Rangers’ cap constraints, which will remain a considerable roadblock in a potential deal. CapFriendly lists the Rangers with just $675K in cap space with a roster of 22 players, not even enough to accommodate a league-minimum deal. Hypothetically, the Rangers could send a player down and use the cap space to sign Kane, but they’d only be able to offer around $1.4MM per season in that case. That’s an offer other teams are likely to beat, namely the Buffalo Sabres, whom Seravalli affirms have interest in the forward after previous reports linked them into the conversation last month. Trading a forward – potentially $3.6MM man Barclay Goodrow – seems likelier.
Seravalli also acknowledged previous reports that Kane is interested in joining the Red Wings and reuniting with former Chicago linemate Alex DeBrincat. However, like others who reported on the link, he did not say if Detroit was interested in signing him.