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Chicago Blackhawks: Kane’s 5 Possible Trade Destinations

By Matt Barbato

Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is in the midst of a sexual assault investigation that took a dramatic turn Wednesday. According to the attorney of Kane’s accuser, evidence from the rape kit administered on the alleged victim was taken, tampered with and delivered to the accuser’s mother’s home on Tuesday. Law enforcement officials later denied those claims.

The Blackhawks have not commented on this recent development, but they allowed Kane to attend training camp last weekend before this new information came to light. The team held a press conference last Friday in which Kane read an opening statement declaring his faith that he will be found innocent.

This latest news, however, could alter the organization’s stance on its franchise player. The case is nowhere near ending, and this could drag well past the start of the regular season. It’s important to note that Kane has not been charged with a crime, and no grand jury hearing has taken place to determine whether or not he should be indicted. There are no recent rumors regarding a trade of Kane, either. This is all hypothetical.

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But the mess begs a couple of questions: Could the Blackhawks actually trade Patrick Kane? And if so, who would be a willing partner?

A team that acquires Kane has to be able to take most if not all of Kane’s $10.5 million average annual salary. There are 10 teams in the NHL with at least $7 million in cap space, but three of these teams lie within the Central Division and another is the Anaheim Ducks, who are already a contender in the Western Conference.

Here are five teams that are plausible options for a potential Kane trade.

Buffalo Sabres 

Kane’s hometown team has more than $8 million in cap space and is shifting from a rebuilding mode toward being a young team to watch out for in the Eastern Conference. The Sabres have some young prospects outside of Jack Eichel who the ’Hawks could get in return for Kane.

Florida Panthers 

Florida also has a ton of cap room and is led by former Blackhawks’ General Manager Dale Tallon. Florida has just more than $8.2 million in cap space and also features some enticing prospects that could be packaged in a trade. Florida has three of the NHL’s top-100 prospects, according to ESPN’s rankings. The Panthers would be a viable trade partner because of Tallon’s tenure with the ’Hawks and his history of picking up former ’Hawks while serving as Florida’s GM.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils aren’t an attractive trade partner because of their dried-up farm system, but they have more than enough cap space to acquire Kane. The Devils are in a tough spot and don’t have much to look forward to in 2015. Acquiring Kane would bring New Jersey a star playmaker.

Carolina Hurricanes 

The Hurricanes already took Kris Versteeg off Chicago’s hands during the offseason. The Hurricanes feature three prospects ranked in the top 60 by ESPN and have some intriguing veterans such as Jordan Staal who could make an impact right away with the Blackhawks. Carolina could use a star to help jolt the fan base and on-ice product.

Arizona Coyotes

The Blackhawks would be better off trading Kane out of the Western Conference. Still, the Coyotes are a viable trade partner because of their surplus of cap space and enriched farm system. Arizona has three prospects ranked inside ESPN’s top 16 and four inside its top 50. Trading Kane to a Western Conference foe wouldn’t be ideal, but Arizona may provide the best potential return.

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