Patrick Kane is finally a New York Ranger. It took the Rangers some time to accrue the salary cap space to acquire Kane, but they were able to pull it off on Tuesday afternoon.
The Rangers sent a conditional 2023 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Kane. If the Rangers win two playoff rounds this year, the conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round pick in 2024 or 2025.
The Arizona Coyotes got involved as a third-party to retain some of Kane's salary and make it possible for the Rangers to fit him in under the cap. In exchange for retaining 25% of Kane's cap hit, the Coyotes got a 2025 third-round pick from the Rangers.
Let's dive in for a deeper look at how all three teams came out in this deal.
New York Rangers
Slam dunks don't get much easier than this. The Rangers were Shaquille O'Neal playing with a Little Tikes hoop.
Kane had a full no-movement clause, and that benefited the Rangers in a major way. New York was Kane's preferred trade destination, and as a result, the Rangers only had to give up a conditional second-round pick and a fourth-round pick to get one of the greatest American players in NHL history.
Kane's detractors will say that he is nothing more than a shell of the player that led the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cups and won the Hart Trophy in 2016. At 34 years old, Kane probably isn't that player anymore, but rumors of his demise may be at least a little exaggerated.
While it's true that Kane is on pace for one of the worst seasons of his career and that his defensive game has cratered in recent years, the quality of the roster around him has been awful.
For instance, Kane's linemates in the 2022-23 season have been Max Domi, Sam Lafferty, Andreas Athanasiou, Philipp Kurashev, Jason Dickinson, and Tyler Johnson. Despite being placed in a less-than-ideal situation, Kane has still produced 16 goals and 29 assists in 54 games.
Is Kane going to go back to posting 30-goal and 80-point seasons? Probably not, but the last couple of seasons in Chicago probably haven't been the greatest indicator of what he has left in the tank. Besides, Kane could be reunited with former Blackhawks linemate Artemi Panarin in New York.
Kane and Panarin played two seasons together in Chicago from 2015 to 2017. In that time, Kane tallied 80 goals and 115 assists for 195 points in 164 games. That span also included his MVP season in 2015-16. If Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant puts Kane and Panarin back together, that could be the spark that ignites Kane again.
The bottom line is that the Rangers got another excellent offensive playmaker for a bargain bin price. Kane's best days may be behind him, but it's hard to believe he won't improve on a Rangers team that now boasts one of the best top-six forward groups in the league. Keeping the blueshirts off the board will be a tough task for their playoff opponents. Grade -- A+
The Blackhawks' hands were tied here. They could either let Kane have his swan song in Chicago for the rest of the season and risk losing him for nothing in free agency or trade him to the Rangers. That's it. Those were their two options.
This decision probably wasn't an easy one for Chicago. Kane is a franchise icon. He has three Stanley Cup rings and a Hart Trophy to his name. The No. 88 will go up into the rafters at the United Center one day, and a statue of him will sit outside the arena.
In choosing to part ways with Kane before the trade deadline, the Blackhawks had little to no leverage due to his no-movement clause. At some point, this trade became more about doing Kane a favor and giving him a chance to win another Cup than anything else.
Because of all those factors, this return is incredibly disappointing. There was no guaranteed first-round pick, no young roster player, and no prospect.
Under more normal circumstances, Kane would have gone for a king's ransom at the deadline, but these were not normal circumstances. The Blackhawks gave up a legendary player for the type of return commanded by a middle-six forward. At least Chicago fans can root for Kane and the Blackhawks in the playoffs in hopes that the conditional second-round pick becomes a first-round pick. Grade -- D+
Retaining an all-time great player's salary for a mid-round draft pick. We call that the Coyotes Special.
As a team that often flirts with the salary cap floor, the Coyotes need to make these types of moves as they try to climb out of the NHL's basement. Luckily for them, the inevitable Jacob Chychrun should bring back a little more than a third-round pick. Grade -- A-