Trade Patrick Kane?
That's just not going to happen.
Nor should it happen.
There's a small faction of Blackhawks Nation again calling for the Hawks to deal Kane, apparently unhappy with the winger's 1 goal and 5 assists in the first-round playoff loss to Vancouver.
Think for a minute how foolish it would be to trade away a 22-year-old player who already has scored 103 goals and 303 points in his first four years in the league, a guy who also has 20 goals in 45 playoff games, including the one that clinched the Hawks' first Stanley Cup in 49 years in 2010.
Kane is coming off a season that he himself considers disappointing, yet he was a point-a-game player with 73 points in 73 games. He ranked third behind Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews with 27 goals, and his 46 assists led the Hawks.
Kane finished with 3 fewer points than team leader Toews despite missing nine games to injuries.
“To be honest with you it was a really up-and-down season for the team's sake and for my sake,” Kane said.
“It's nice to say you're a point-a-game player and have over 70 points and you're disappointed with the season. That's kind of where I am, to be honest with you. You definitely want to keep getting better and become one of the top players in the league. I'm really excited about next year and trying to take that next step.”
Kane scored only 1 goal in the series against Vancouver, but so did Toews. Marian Hossa had 2 goals in the seven games.
“They played pretty tight, they were pretty physical and we took a lot of hits,” Kane said. “You can say I wasn't at my best, but I still think I was either tied or led the team in scoring in the series.”
Kane is durable despite his size, missing only 11 games in four years. He battled a high ankle sprain for a good portion of this season when the wise thing to do might have been to sit out longer, but the Hawks were in a fight to make the playoffs and Kane knew he was needed on the ice.
“It was one of those things at the time you always say you want to get back as quickly as possible, but looking back the couple times I had it maybe I should have taken a little more time off so I'm better for the rest of the season,” Kane said.
There are those who want to see Kane be the Hawks' version of Martin St. Louis, the Hart Trophy finalist from Tampa Bay who regularly flirts with 100-point seasons. Like Kane, St. Louis is small but he also has a gritty side that makes him extra special.
It needs to be pointed out, however, that St. Louis is 35 years old and needed years to become a great player.
St. Louis was nowhere near the player Kane is when he was 22. The Calgary Flames didn't want him, and even in his first two seasons with the Lightning he never scored more than 20 goals or had more than 40 points.
Those were the days, of course, when St. Louis' size worked against him because of all the hooking, holding and slashing allowed at the time.
The point is, Kane already is an offensive force at just 22, one of the most skilled and dangerous players in the NHL, defensive flaws and all, with his best years still to come.
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