Should the Boston Bruins look into acquiring Chicago Blackhawks and future hall of fame winger Patrick Kane on the NHL trade market at some point this season?
The NHL trade chatter has been picking up as of late as teams deal with injuries and as American Thanksgiving, less than a week away now, approaches. That’s usually the date when the cream has risen to the top and it’s more evident who are the Stanley Cup playoffs contenders. So as teams start to figure out where they stand and what they have to work with, NHL general managers start to work the phones to either add or unload players. It also doesn’t hurt that 32 NHL general managers are fresh out of the first GM meetings of the season at the Hockey Hall of Fame festivities last weekend in Toronto.
According to one NHL executive- not an NHL GM himself – one name that was coming up in NHL trade chatter there, and that he’s heard recently while out on scouting assignments, was Patrick Kane.
“The sharks aren’t necessarily circling yet, but his name has been coming up more lately and I can imagine it will a lot more as we go forward here,” the NHL Exec told Boston Hockey Now Friday evening. “Like I said, it’s basically scuttlebutt still but if I’m a legit Stanley Cup contender, I’m greasing the skids ASAP. I think he definitely gets moved and the price is only getting higher from here for a guy like him.”
The Boston Bruins will host the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night in what will likely be Kane’s last game at TD Garden in a Blackhawks uniform. The 34-year-old three-time Stanley Cup Champion, 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner and 2016 Hart Trophy winner is in the final season of an eight-year, $84 million ($10.5M AAV), contract. So what about the best team in the NHL, the Bruins? Do they make sense as a front-runner in the eventual NHL trade sweepstakes for Kane?
“Patrick Kane and the Bruins make a lot of sense,” the NHL Exec told BHN. “The Bruins were all in already but with this start, I’d say they’re full speed ahead and will do whatever it takes to get Patrice Bergeron one more Stanley Cup. They have cap issues now so they can’t really go hard after Kane or anyone, but they need to be laying down the foundation for acquiring a player like that.”
The Bruins got star defenseman Charlie McAvoy (shoulder) and veteran star winger Brad Marchand (hip) back early and they are seemingly making history every game these days. While their sooner-than-expected returns only made things better, they also began to put the heat on Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to make some cap-related trades. To this point, Sweeney has, and understandably so been focused on creating cap space via the NHL trade market. Per our friends at PuckPedia, the Bruins currently have $1.6 million in salary cap space. Derek Forbort ($3M AAV), is on long-term injured reserve and week-to-week after finger surgery but given how fast winger Marchand and McAvoy came back from offseason surgeries, that could change soon and then the Bruins would be over the cap again.
As reported here, Sweeney has been trying to find takers for defenseman Mike Reilly ($3M AAV) – currently playing in the AHL with the Providence Bruins – and winger Craig Smith ($3.1M AAV), on the NHL trade market but has had no luck so far. If and when he could clear more salary cap space, and as the calendar turns to 2023 he likely will become a buyer on the NHL trade market, rather than a seller.
Could Sweeney wind up making sure Saturday night doesn’t become Kane’s last game on the same TD Garden ice that he hoisted the 2013 Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy?