I went to the Blackhawks-Jets game last Friday. Sat in the 300s and had a great view of the whole ice. Love to sit up there because you can really see plays develop. Or, in the Blackhawks case, die.
There was a instances where Kane would weave through defenders in the neutral zone, enter the zone cleanly, hit a winger with a pass right on the tape with time and space in the zone, and then that winger shot the puck into the goalie's chest from 45' which is effectively a turnover. I never subscribed to that old cliche of "there's no such thing as a bad shot on goal" and I don't think Kane has either. He gains the line and slows it down. He'd turn down shots for a good shot or a good play. He's always been able to play with anyone and be productive, but when he gets to play with guys who think the game the way he does it become beautiful to watch. One of those guys is coming to town tonight.
When that play happened and he bent over at the waist in frustration it finally hit me that I am okay with him going. This isn't his fault. He's done more than anyone had ever dreamed he'd do in Chicago when he was drafted and if he wants to leave Chicago in the next 80 days before the NHL trade deadline then that is his right.
I started combing through capfriendly, prospect pools, and looking at the standings to find a good trade partner and at this point...I can't.
I don't think Kane is going to go to any team that isn't a true contender. So, in my head, at this moment teams like Detroit, LA, Seattle, Minnesota, Rangers, Islanders, and the Capitals (unless he wants to on an Ovi 800 ride with Strome) are out. I can't envision him playing in a small market so Carolina and Winnipeg are out. Those two things would probably eliminate the Florida Panthers as well and even if they aren't eliminated they don't have much to send back since they've traded away every first round pick they have into the next presidency.
I don't think adding an offensive winger will be the top priority for New Jersey or Colorado. I can't exactly see him fitting with Pittsburgh or Toronto either given the strengths of their team and other needs.
That really just leaves Dallas and Boston and I am not even sold either of them as the right/perfect fit. And if it is just one of them then you're not going to get a King's ransom for Kane. You're looking at a situation where you get a pittance of fringe NHL prospects and a late first round pick. Not great.
The Toews-Kane matching 8 year deals are going out with a whimper instead of a bang. I think if the package is something like a late first and a mid prospect then the Blackhawks should be pushing for an extension to keep them through the end of their careers...if they're open to that. If not, prepare to be underwhelmed and sad.