The New York Rangers have been a team tied to Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane for over a season now. Many believe Kane could be the missing piece the Rangers need to put them over the top to win a Stanley Cup.
Last week, the Rangers got one step closer to making that fantasy a reality as they traded forward Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.
Reaves was not happy this year in New York as he requested a trade when the team was on their California road trip. He had been a healthy scratch in seven of the last eight games as the Rangers were moving in a different direction this season.
Recall Reaves was brought in during general manager Chris Drury‘s first season after the major overhaul by owner James Dolan getting rid of Jeff Gorton and John Davidson.
The Rangers wanted to play with more of a physical presence and with Gerard Gallant coming in as head coach, Reaves was the perfect fit. Management felt the Rangers were too easy to play against especially with what happened against the Washington Capitals.
Well, that philosophy got them all the way to the Eastern Conference Final losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games. But this season, the Rangers are focused on taking the next step as they try to build on the success of last season. Expectations are higher in the locker room, thus a move needed to be made to clear some cap space.
With Reaves getting traded to Minnesota the Rangers freed up $2 million in cap space. A win-win for both the player and the team. And that number is expected to go up to around $6.68 million come the March 3rd trade deadline.
Enter Patrick Kane.
Now the Rangers have some work to do to fit his salary on the roster. However, if the Rangers were to add him, they now have the room to do so. Again they will need help.
It is not out of the realm of possibility that Kane gets traded to the Rangers. He has ties to New York in the form of Artemi Panarin. Kane and Panarin played together in Chicago before Panarin was traded to Columbus. Kane had one of his best seasons playing alongside Panarin, and this move would only boost the Rangers offense.
How would it work to be exact?
Well, first Patrick Kane would have to waive his no-movement clause. Kane controls the narrative in this situation. But if Kane were to move his no-movement clause, his salary would be the next hurdle to be cleared. Kane has a salary cap hit of $10.5 million. That means Chicago would have to retain 50 percent of that for starters to make the trade happen.
Now, we have seen in the past, a third team is involved to make it easier for a contending team up against the cap to acquire a superstar player. Which in this case could most certainly happen.
Once that hurdle is cleared, you have to wonder what the rest of the asking price could be from the Blackhawks to the Rangers. For a team like the Blackhawks who are rebuilding, they will most likely want a first-round pick, the Rangers have two of them. In addition, the Blackhawks will likely want a player and prospect as well. The Rangers have plenty of those.
Right now the stage is set for the Rangers to acquire Patrick Kane. However, it is a moot point as both the Blackhawks and Kane have stated he is happy right now in Chicago and will decide later on if he wants to be traded. But with the way things are trending in Chicago, time is starting to tick on the end of Patrick Kane with the Blackhawks.
We know Kane and Jonathan Toews have been tied to that franchise since the day they were drafted. And both most likely want to remain with the club, but they are also competitors, and having one more chance to win a Stanley Cup might outweigh being a lifer in Chicago.
The stage is set at least for the Rangers to have a busy trade deadline again like they did last year.