11/29/23: The Red Wings have now made their signing of Kane official.
Should this report end up accurate, Kane would be landing with a historic rival of his longtime club, the Chicago Blackhawks.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Kane’s deal is a one-year, $2.75MM pact.
It would also mean Kane will have played for half of the league’s original six teams, after spending part of last season with the New York Rangers.
According to ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, Kane “was very impressed” with Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde, and more specifically his “hockey acumen” and “vision for Detroit.”
By signing in Detroit, Kane has re-united himself with one of his favorite former teammates: Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat, who the Red Wings acquired in the offseason, has had the best seasons of his career on a line with Kane and is currently off to a hot start with 12 goals and 20 points in 20 games.
While DeBrincat has slowed down a bit recently, the arrival of Kane will likely give him a major boost, assuming Kane comes back and plays up to his career standard. That’s far from a guarantee after offseason hip surgery, especially if one considers the impact hip resurfacing surgery had on Nicklas Backstrom.
At the moment, the Red Wings have almost $7MM in cap space to work with according to CapFriendly. As a result, they should be able to comfortably fit the cost of Kane’s contract, assuming the cap hit isn’t excessively expensive.
As for where Kane fits in Detroit’s lineup, one has to assume Lalonde would begin by placing Kane with DeBrincat on the team’s second line, a unit currently centered by J.T. Compher. Doing so would displace Michael Rasmussen, but the 2017 ninth-overall pick’s six points in 20 games is hardly a convincing argument to retain his top-six job over a player like Kane.
In any case, the Red Wings could be getting a significant offensive boost with this signing. Assuming Kane can return to something close to what he was in Chicago and at times on Broadway, Detroit is getting the type of mid-season reinforcement that usually costs teams quality prospects and/or draft picks.
Although Kane’s play in the defensive end has led to questions regarding how much overall value he actually provides, there’s a reason most contending teams would eagerly accept adding Kane to their top-six. He’s one of the defining offensive talents of this most recent era of NHL hockey, and is nearly point-per-game in the postseason across a sample size of nearly 150 games.
The Red Wings are eager to emerge out of their rebuild and return to the playoffs, perhaps making a serious run at the Stanley Cup as well. Adding Kane almost undoubtedly helps them in that pursuit.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.