The Chicago Blackhawks have reportedly received trade calls on Patrick Kane, plus an update on Anze Kopitar’s contract talks with the LA Kings.
Blackhawks getting trade calls for Kane.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Mark Lazerus reports a league source claims at least five teams have contacted the Chicago Blackhawks expressing interest in acquiring Patrick Kane, who is currently under investigation for sexual assault. Lazerus believes trading Kane is an option the Blackhawks must consider, though there’s no indication they’re willing to take that step. Given the club’s reputation as a model franchise on and off the ice, Kane faces a murky future in Chicago. Lazerus claims another source said ‘Hawks brass gave Kane a stern warning in 2012 following several off-ice alcohol-related incident not to get involved in any more bad situations that would cast the club in a negative light.
SI.COM: Allan Muir says it’s hard to imagine another NHL team would be interested in Kane with a serious charge hanging over his head, but “from a practical position, it only makes sense that other GMs would pick up the phone.” Muir also notes there’s no indication the Blackhawks intend to trade Kane, who is entering the first season of an eight-year, $84 million contract. Still, the longer the investigation goes on, the more it could be an unnecessary distraction for the Blackhawks as they prepare to defend their Stanley Cup title. While Lazerus speculates the ‘Hawks could get a massive return for Kane, Muir feels the sexual assault investigation and Kane’s previous history of bad behavior will affect that return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, I think the Blackhawks are awaiting the outcome of the investigation before deciding what action to take, even if it should continue into training camp and the start of the season. If they decide to trade Kane, I doubt it happens before the investigation is completed. If a charge of sexual assault is filed against Kane, he will likely be suspended pending the outcome of a trial.
Kopitar and Kings far apart in contract talks.
CBS SPORTS: Chris Peters cites a report by LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen claiming the Los Angeles Kings and center Anze Kopitar remain far apart in contract talks. Kopitar, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s completing a seven-year deal with a $6.8 million salary-cap hit. Peters notes ESPN.com’s Craig Custance reported the two sides are about $2 million per season apart, and Kopitar has no interest in discussing a contract during the upcoming season. He also observes the Kings have limited cap space for 2015-16 (nearly $51 million invested in 15 players), not counting the suspended Slava Voynov ($4.166 million) and the potential cap hit of either a buyout or salary-cap recapture penalty for Mike Richards, depending upon the outcome of his grievance over his contract termination. Peters believes Kopitar could command around $10.5 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication at this point if the Kings will consider trading Kopitar, though I daresay it won’t take long until that speculation begins, especially if he’s still unsigned when the season opens in October. If unsigned by then, negotiations will likely be postponed until the end of the season. I doubt the Kings will move Kopitar at this point. He’s their top-line center, their leading scorer in every season since 2007-08, one of the top two-way players in the league and a key factor in their two Stanley Cup championships.