NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2022
Some potential trade destinations for Patrick Kane and how the Canadiens can add a defenseman in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
The Buffalo Sabres are Kane’s childhood team and already have some quality talent on their rebuilding roster. They also have plenty of salary-cap space and have a stockpile of prospects to tempt the Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there is a mutual interest in Kane and the Sabres, I think the latter would prefer waiting until next summer to sign him as an unrestricted free agent. They wouldn’t have to part with any players or prospects to get him and the annual cap hit would be lower than his current $10.5 million.
Stephens also suggested the Toronto Maple Leafs as a destination. He acknowledged it would take some financial wizardry for the cap-strapped Leafs to pull it off. Adding Kane would give the Leafs a formidable top-six formation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has proven adept at salary-cap wizardry in the past. Adding Kane, however, could prove beyond his powers. It would require shedding considerable salary while requiring the Blackhawks to retain half of his average annual value. A three-team trade would significantly reduce the Leafs’ share of his AAV but finding a team willing to do it is easier said than done.
The Detroit Red Wings are another club with promising prospects that could be attractive trade bait. They would have to free up a bit of cap room but it wouldn’t be a daunting task. Kane alongside Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond would be a tantalizing combination.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has avoided pursuing big-ticket talent, preferring to acquire depth veterans to augment his rising young stars. He could surprise us with a major move by acquiring someone like Kane, but I don’t
Stephens thinks the Colorado Avalanche adding Kane would be the kind of move we’d expect them to make. Adding the 33-year-old winger would push the defending Stanley Cup champions back to the top of the heap. It would require the difficult task of trying to shed Erik Johnson’s $6 million cap hit plus the Avs only have four total picks in the next two drafts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche management has shown creativity before landing quality talent. However, their lack of draft picks and Johnson’s cap hit could put acquiring Kane out of reach.
THE ATHLETIC: Marc Antoine Godin examined how the Montreal Canadiens could acquire a right-side defenseman. They’ll garner salary-cap flexibility with Carey Price expected to be on long-term injury reserve this season, plus they have depth in forwards to dangle as trade bait.
Godin suggests a trade before the start of the season targeting clubs that could be willing to swap a defenseman for a forward (such as Joel Armia) whose contract runs into 2024-25 when the salary cap is expected to significantly rise. The Edmonton Oilers’ Tyson Barrie or the Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan DeMelo could be options under that scenario.
Another could be using their cap flexibility for a temporary short-term fix. Godin suggested the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Justin Holl or the Ottawa Senators’ Travis Hamonic. He also thinks it would be worthwhile keeping an eye on the Carolina Hurricanes, who have five right-side defensemen.
Godin also suggested they could keep an eye on the waiver wire or sign an unrestricted free agent such as Anton Stralman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Godin is merely making suggestions here. He’s not saying the Canadiens are targeting those defensemen. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if Habs GM Kent Hughes were to land one of those blueliners or another right-shot rearguard. He’s done a good job thus far addressing his rebuilding club’s needs.