The 2023 NHL Training Camp period is set to open in September. Players who haven’t signed yet are either signing professional tryouts or finding new homes in the National Hockey League or other professional leagues overseas. Patrick Kane has yet to sign an NHL contract, and I don’t forecast him to sign one for a little longer. Let’s dive into why Patrick Kane likely signing in Los Angeles could be the perfect fit.
Los Angeles Wants To Win Now
The LA Kings just came out of a little bit of a rebuild, and that rebuild brought them some talented players. They’ve also signed and made good trades, which has landed them back into a position where they will compete again. Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar are getting older, and the LA Kings want to give their franchise guys one last Stanley Cup before they retire.
Related: Patrick Kane Stats
Patrick Kane has won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks and is looking to win more before he retires. However, Kane just had hip resurfacing surgery, leaving him out of the league for at least four months. While there is speculation that he may return early, there isn’t a chance he will sign before he is healthy.
Rob Blake has a complete team, but the potential to sign a veteran like Patrick Kane for cheap is very lucrative. Kings general manager Rob Blake will look at the possibility of this addition, especially after acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets. The stronger a team can become upfront, the less they usually worry about on the back end.
Would Kane Actually Play in Los Angeles?
The short answer is, yes, Patrick Kane would play in LA. It ties into my last point on LA wanting to win now. Kane will be looking to sign with teams with a real chance of competing for a Stanley Cup this year. I think it is also worth noting that Patrick Kane still has tremendous skill; even though he’s turning 35, he’s still one of the biggest free-agent names from the 2023 free-agency pool.
Kane split his 2022-23 season with the Chicago Blackhawks (54 games) and the New York Rangers (19 games). Kane posted 16 goals and 29 assists for 45 points in his campaign with the Blackhawks. When he was traded to the Rangers, he posted five goals and seven assists for 12 points in his run with the Rangers.
Kane’s 57 points are still impressive, and he’s only one season removed from a 92-point season. Kane is no fading lily; the Kings know what they are getting if they sign him.
How Does This Work With The Salary Cap?
Another fun short answer: it doesn’t work unless Los Angeles either makes a trade or sends a player to the minors. With just $123,333 in cap space, the Kings would have to make some significant tweaks to their roster, which is likely something they don’t want to do right now.
Now, let’s get back to hypotheticals; the Kings have 13 forwards, two of whom are waivers exempt. Quinton Byfield and Arthur Kaliyev are making just under $900,000, meaning the Kigns technically have about $2 million in cap space to sign Kane with. Here’s the issue with using this money for Patrick Kane: It takes away a roster spot from two of your young prospects showing promising development signs.
The Kings can also trade away a depth player; as expendable as depth pieces are, trading away depth pieces can also be super harmful to chemistry. So, this option can work, but the Kings need to be super careful if they choose this route.
This can work if the proper consideration and care are taken for signing Patrick Kane. I can see this happening because Los Angeles has emerged as a contender and has added the right pieces over the years. If I’m an aging NHL player considering my options for teams that can compete for a Stanley Cup, I’d consider Los Angeles because they are due to break through sooner rather than later.