TSN Insider Darren Dreger is reporting that unrestricted free agent forward Patrick Kane isn’t likely to start talking with teams until the end of October. Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson has been receiving a lot of calls on the three-time Stanley Cup Champion, but they won’t have meetings with teams until more medical information is available in mid-late October.
Kane has been rehabbing from hip resurfacing surgery that he had on June 1st and his initial timetable was 4-6 months to recover from the procedure. If Kane does return at the end of October, he will fall right into the window of the initial projection.
Kane’s contract situation is sure to be a tricky one as fellow TSN Insider Chris Johnston points out. Most teams that would be of interest to Kane are pressed right up against the salary cap ceiling and wouldn’t have very many avenues available to fit in Kane’s next contract. The 34-year-old is ineligible for a 35+ contract as he is five months short of hitting that mark, and a signing bonus would create other problems for an interested team.
Little is known about who a frontrunner for Kane’s services would be. The Buffalo Sabres have been thrown around in rumor mills as they have over $8MM in cap space and are Kane’s hometown team, but nothing concrete has emerged from the speculation.
It seems unlikely that Kane will be able to get much more than a one-year deal since he is signing in season. However, teams have found ways to get creative in the past with the salary cap so it shouldn’t be ruled out.
Kane was still a very productive player last season posting 21 goals and 36 assists in 73 games. However, it is unknown how he will play after surgery. Players who have had this surgery in the past have not typically had very successful returns. Ed Jovanovski had it a decade ago and was only able to play 37 games after the surgery before he was forced to retire.
Nicklas Backstrom is also currently going through the same process as Kane and returned last season to dress in 39 games posting seven goals and 14 assists. While those numbers are far off his career norms, Backstrom is in his mid-30s and missed training camp. Something Kane will also have to contend with.