Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane took partial control of first place on the NHL’s scoring leaderboard Tuesday night. Kane netted a goal and had two assists against the Montreal Canadiens to bring his point total to 76, tying Edmonton Oilers phenom Connor McDavid.
There is no question we are currently witnessing the prime of Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane’s career. Since the beginning of the 2014-15 season, Kane has been an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses in piling up 246 points in the regular season alone.
Last season, his production earned him his first Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy. Could we see more hardware added to his collection this season?
At the end of December, Kane was at 37 points in 39 games. Many people including myself were wondering when he would turn it on. Even though Kane was producing at an above-average rate, it still felt like a slow start for the star winger.
Since the All-Star break, however Kane has been a man on a mission while scoring 27 points in just 17 games. Kane scored 15 goals in the 51 games leading up to the All-Star Game, but he has since scored 16 goals in 17 games.
In February, the major headlines were about captain Jonathan Toews’ resurgence as he was absolutely scorching, and rightfully so.
Kane, somewhat out character, was quietly having a great month of his own. As a result, he rapidly moved up the NHL’s scoring leaderboard. Kane now sits tied for first place with Connor McDavid, and there is no reason to think he’ll be slowing down.
What’s next for Kane?
Before his incredible February, it wouldn’t have been crazy to think that Kane may not even break 30 goals this season, which after a 46-goal season last year would have felt like a small disappointment. With only 15, I was predicting he would end the season somewhere in the mid-20s.
While 20 goals is a successful season for most players, it didn’t feel right for Kane. I began to dread the headlines that could have popped up about last season being a fluke for the Buffal native. Now it is perfectly reasonable to suggest he could score 40 goals, and end his season as the league’s highest-grossing scorer.
We may not see Kane win another MVP award this season as Brent Burns is having an incredible season on the Sharks blue-line and is currently the front-runner. However, Kane has definitely forced himself into the conversation and a strong March and early April could make him the MVP favorite.
In Kane’s first few season’s in the league, he was a pass-first player who could score some goals. Now it’s nearly impossible to know what he’s going to do with the puck. You can’t really call him a pass-first or a shoot-first player, and that’s what makes him so lethal.
His shot has also developed to the point where he can beat goalies without making all the moves that are so fun to watch. His shot is almost Marian Hossa-esque as he can just rip it past goalies and force them to try to stop it, and most of the time they can’t. A perfect example of this is this goal against arguably the league’s best goalie, Carey Price:
Kane makes a few minor dekes to hide the puck that any good player would make, but he stares at the right post the whole time and shot it at that exact place, yet he still finds away to get it past Price.
The younger versions of Kane may have tried to make a fancy move or two to score, and miss a good chance for a goal. Now he can deke a goalie out of his pants if the situation calls for it or just fire it in the back of the net before the goalie can even blink. His arsenal of shots is matched by only a few top players, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has more.
Whether or not he comes home with more hardware this summer, I think I speak for all ‘Hawks fans when I say Kane’s career has been a treat to watch, and the past few seasons have been nothing short of incredible.
I leave you with this. I know you’ll enjoy. Mostly because its against the Red Wings.