“Showtime” is headed to Broadway.
Patrick Kane will close the books on nearly 16 seasons and three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks and chase another title with the New York Rangers.
The long-awaited Kane trade appeared imminent according to various reports Tuesday afternoon, and Kane may be a Ranger by Tuesday night.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli cited sources who said the Rangers have worked out the details of compensation to the Hawks — including a second-round draft pick this year that could become a first-rounder — and their own salary-cap issues. A third team reportedly will join the trade, presumably to retain some of Kane’s $10.5 million cap figure.
The Hawks are limited by rule from absorbing more than 50% of Kane’s salary.
ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported the conditional second-round pick would switch to a 2024 or 2025 first-rounder if the Rangers make the Eastern Conference finals. The Hawks also will receive a 2023 fourth-round pick, according to Kaplan.
NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes also confirmed the trade.
The Rangers’ flirtation with Kane had been the NHL’s worst-kept secret dating to last year’s trade deadline. But there were a lot of challenges this time around.
First, Kane had to commit to a trade and waive his no-movement clause. He told the Chicago Tribune in January: “I want to make the most of the back half of my career here and have fun playing hockey too.”
Yet he admittedly was slow to do so, and the Rangers swung a big deal with the St. Louis Blues for forward Vladimir Tarasenko on Feb. 9. Kane expressed disappointment as it became apparent that the Rangers not only were at the top of Kane’s short list — they might have been the entire list.
“It’s not like the happiest I’ve been to hear about a trade,” Kane said on Feb. 10. “But I think the Rangers I definitely pay attention to, intrigued by for obvious reasons.”
Then there was the chatter that a hip injury was bothering Kane and hampering his production.
“I’m not really sure what the story is out there, to be honest with you,” he said. “I think I feel better than I did last year.”
Kane then went on a hot streak, scoring seven goals and adding three assists in four games, including a hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Meanwhile, the Rangers, No. 3 in the Metropolitan Division, followed up a shootout win against the Edmonton Oilers with three straight losses.
Whether that series of events piqued the Rangers’ interest or they never really lost it, buzz percolated that they were heavily back in the Kane market.
But they had to cross the hurdles of cap, contract and compensation — as in draft capital.
For the Tarasenko trade, the Rangers needed the Blues to retain half of his $7.5 million cap hit, or $3.75 million. The Rangers gave the Blues one of their two first-round picks this year, a 2024 fourth-round pick and a pair of prospects in exchange for the 31-year-old Russian.
Kane, 34, has a bigger cap hit: His $10.5 million contract expires after this season, then he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent.
While the Hawks have to be pleased with stocking up for the rebuild, the trade breaks up one of the all-time great hockey duos in Kane and Jonathan Toews, whose $10.5 million annual cap hit also expires after this season.
Toews was placed on injured reserve Feb. 15, and four days later he announced he’s “still dealing with the symptoms of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome.”
Though the Hawks haven’t made the playoffs since the 2019-20 season, the departure of Kane symbolically ends the 2010s Stanley Cup era.
Kane’s 1,225 points, 1,161 games and 67 game-winning goals rank second, third and fourth in franchise history, respectively.
The Hawks bid farewell to the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft and one of the greatest American hockey players: three Stanley Cups (2010, ‘13 and ‘15), Olympic appearances in 2010 (silver) and 2014, 2007-08 Calder Trophy winner (top rookie), first U.S.-born player to win the Hart Trophy as the regular-season MVP in 2015-16, Art Ross winner (points leader) in the same season, 2012-13 Conn Smythe recipient as playoff MVP and nine All-Star games.
Kane’s legend with the Blackhawks includes his famous “phantom goal,” the sharp-angle shot that sneaked under Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michael Leighton’s legs and into the side of the net to secure a 4-3 overtime win in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, clinching the first of three Hawks championships in a six-year span.
An NHL.com panel named it the “Goal of the Decade.”
Kane scored and assisted on the only two goals scored in the Hawks’ 2015 Cup clincher against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
If Kane never plays another game in a Hawks sweater, he will finish third all time in franchise playoff points with 132, fourth in goals (52) and tied with Toews and Bobby Hull with 11 postseason game-winning goals.
Kane’s exit also likely ends his quest to ascend the franchise career ladder in regular-season goals (446, third), assists (779, second) and points (1,225, second), though Hull and Mikita arguably made those aspirations long shots.
Kane is tied with Mikita for the most 20-goal seasons with 14.
But Kane had rocky moments during his tenure too. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in August 2009 after an altercation with a Buffalo, N.Y., cabdriver, and in August 2015 he faced a sexual assault allegation, though the complaint was withdrawn and the case dropped after a three-month investigation.
Despite playing the better part of 16 seasons with the Hawks and advancing in age — he turns 35 on Nov. 19 — Kane has remained a force, leading the team last season in points (92), contributing 26 goals and a team-high 66 assists.
After the trades of several teammates, including Brandon Hagel, Kirby Dach and longtime linemate Alex DeBrincat, Kane started slowly this season while trying to jell with new faces such as Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou.
Kane registered four goals and 18 assists in the first 30 games. But in the 24 games since then, he has put up 12 goals and 11 assists.
During the summer, general manager Kyle Davidson said players such as Kane and Toews can bring “all of the experience and all of the professionalism and what they know and what they know of the NHL” to a young locker room.
But absent that now, the Hawks hope Kane’s trade can be a catalyst for their next Cup run.
—Phil Thompson Chicago Tribune