The Boston Bruins have invested in this year’s team to make one last run at a Stanley Cup for a core that includes veterans Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. One or both players will likely retire at the season’s end. The time is now to win a second Stanley Cup for a Bruins team that will need to make several difficult decisions at the end of the 2022-23 season. This year’s team is up against the salary cap, as many teams are, and will either continue with a group that has started the season 15-2-0 or look to add a player at the trade deadline that will solidify themselves as a Cup contender. This is where some creativity will be needed from General Manager Don Sweeney.
As the Bruins hosted the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, looking to extend their unbeaten home winning streak to 11 games, a rumor has developed surrounding the Bruins and star Blackhawks’ forward Patrick Kane. According to Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now, a National Hockey League executive told the reporter that Kane to Boston “makes a lot of sense.” The 34-year-old winger is an unrestricted free agent, and the Blackhawks will probably be looking to deal Kane before the trade deadline in March. The team is currently looking to rebuild, and trading Kane and center Jonathan Toews might be a way to expedite that process.
Kane celebrates his 34th birthday on Saturday in Boston against the NHL-leading Bruins. The 2007 first-overall NHL Draft pick has just two goals on the season but has contributed 11 assists. The Buffalo native has been a dynamic player for Chicago for over sixteen seasons. In 1,123 career regular season games, Kane has compiled 1,193 points and is 68 goals away from 500. The surefire Hall of Famer has won three Stanley Cups in Chicago and was the Conn Smythe winner in the 2013 playoffs when the Blackhawks beat the Bruins in six games in the Stanley Cup Finals. Kane won the Calder Trophy for the league’s top rookie in 2007-08, and in 2015-16 won the Ross, Pearson, and Hart trophies. The four-time all-star has been linked to several teams in trade rumors, and Boston is one of them.
The Bruins are still trying to build a prospect pool that has been lacking and is among the lowest-rated in the NHL. A few promising young players are developing, such as 2021 first-round pick Fabian Lysell, Ohio State’s Mason Lohrei, and Georgii Merkulov, who was signed after completing his collegiate season at Ohio State last year. But the pipeline is still relatively thin, and trading any combination of these players would set Boston back again. What would a Patrick Kane trade take? Is there a scenario where the Bruins could swing adding the 5-foot-10 right wing?
Let’s say the Blackhawks would take a package of current players and draft picks. Would winger Jake DeBrusk, defenseman Brandon Carlo and a first-round pick get the deal done? Would Chicago take on have of Kane’s salary to help with Boston’s salary cap limitations? Then there is the matter of re-signing Kane to a new contract. The Bruins are still working on a new deal for David Pastrnak, which could cost them upwards of $11 million over the next eight years. Would Kane take a friendlier deal similar to the one Taylor Hall took after the Bruins acquired the former first-overall pick two seasons ago? Hall’s deal is for $6 million per year. Kane is nearing the end of an $84 million contract with a $10.5 million cap hit. The likelihood of Kane taking significantly less money on his next deal is probably slim.
Although the thought of having Pastrnak and Kane on the right side in your top-six forward group is dreamy, it is probably just too difficult to make it all work. The Bruins would still be uncertain at the center position beginning next season, and there is no certainty that Kane would re-sign in Boston. It is a nice idea that, under different circumstances, would make sense. But as of now, expect Kane to go to maybe New York or Colorado by the trade deadline and for Boston to find a better fit in a young center like Vancouver’s Bo Horvat.