NHL Notebook: Will the Chicago Blackhawks trade Patrick Kane and grade the Bo Horvat trade
With Bo Horvat dropping from the trade market, all eyes are quickly shifting towards Patrick Kane and his future.
Ranking No. 4 on Daily Faceoff’s Trade Targets list curated by Frank Seravalli, Kane holds all the cards in his hands with a full no-trade clause. Simply put: if he wants to go somewhere, he’ll go somewhere.
While he’s experiencing a down year offensively, Seravalli opined earlier today that could be because of his future being in doubt in the Windy City:
Kane has been a play-driving winger his entire career, capable of powering that line no matter who he is playing with. No matter who Chicago has rolled out with Kane, he has produced in a big way. This season that hasn’t been the case. Linemates Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou have been having mini-revival seasons in Chicago. And Kane has certainly played with worse players. He has also not been very lucky. With multiple seasons shooting north of 16 percent, the career 11.5 percent shooter is scoring at a rate of half that this year (six percent).
Perhaps the biggest factor is Kane has been dealing with some nagging injuries that caused him to sit out three games this season. Watching his shifts closely, you can see that he isn’t quite 100 percent. He doesn’t have the same ‘pop’ to break away from defenders and create open space.
Next, the mental toll that all athletes go through when change is potentially on the horizon is absolutely real. Kane has been woven into the fabric of Chicago since 2007. There will be statues of Kane and Jonathan Toews outside the United Center one day and his jersey hanging in the rafters. Kane’s family has made the move to Chicago from Buffalo, they’re all rooted there. His dad is a frequent visitor at morning skates, practices and even road games. Leaving all of that behind and heading into the unknown of another uniform and another city can weigh any player down, preventing him from being at his absolute best night in and night out. Yes, Kane holds all the cards here with the full ‘no-trade,’ but deep down he likely knows what is best for the team and that has to weigh on him. Those factors are real and cannot be discounted.
All in all, it’s likely a combination of all of the above that has been weighing down Kane’s production this season relative to his career.
Patrick Kane is still elite, one of the very best players in the world, who has a skillset and ability that could keep him a productive player until age 40. There is plenty left in the tank. And he’d be an assassin for any acquiring club hoping to add a fourth Stanley Cup to his trophy closet. The rub is whether he’ll be willing to leave Chicago behind.
If we’re being frank, I don’t think either team really “won” the deal. The Islanders are a team who should be working towards a rebuild, not trying to gear up for a playoff run in a jam-packed Metro Division. The Canucks, meanwhile, get a problem player in Anthony Beauviller and while Aatu Raty is still just 20 years old, you never know how that could turn out.
Vancouver likely comes out on the better end of the deal at least being able to recoup assets that include a first-round pick.
All in all: the pick, to me, is the best element of this trade. It doesn’t help the “retool” plan much, but maybe it saves Rutherford and Allvin from themselves in that regard. The Canucks also did, technically, go out and secure a solid prospect and a roster player with a bit of upside in the present. Did Rutherford and GM Patrik Allvin hit a homer? No. But it’s a hit.
Was that enough for Horvat? Hard for me to say. I don’t know what else may have been offered by other teams. Raty will probably end up being a third-line center that can play up the lineup if necessary. And Beauvillier is an expensive reclamation project until his $4.15 million contract expires after the 2023-24 season. I think the first-round pick is really the key element for the Canucks.
But I’m not here to grade the trade. I’m here to tell you that the Islanders just got better. That the GM of the team went out and got the best scorer available. And now it’s on the New York players to barge their way into the Stanley Cup playoffs..
If I was a member of the Islanders, I’d be amped. Horvat has already potted 31 goals this season, 11 on the power play – something that had to weigh heavily into Lamoriello’s decision to acquire the former Canucks captain.
The Islanders have converted on a measly 15.5 percent of power play attempts this season, second worst in the NHL. New York’s cumulative shooting percentage is 25th overall. If all goes to plan, Horvat will help in both categories.
The Islanders are two points out of a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Sure, other teams may have some games in hand. But there are still 30 games left for New York to play. It’s not out of the question that they make the dance.
Lamoriello had to do something. He couldn’t stand pat after largely staying on the sidelines this past offseason. The Islanders have struggled mightily to score goals, and a solution – Horvat – presented itself.