Chicago Blackhawks veteran Patrick Kane will have new linemates this season, but the NHL Network’s top-rated winger will continue to produce points at a prodigious pace
It’s hard to believe, but Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane will be starting his 11th NHL season when the puck drops Oct. 5 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. And with his dynamic linemate of the last two years, Artemi Panarin, now in Columbus, Kane will be looking to conjure the same scoring magic with a different skater on the left wing for the 2017-18 season.
But there’s every reason to believe that Kane, who the NHL Network recently ranked Number 1 in their “Top 20 Wings Right Now” show, will continue to do what he’s always done throughout his ten-year career — pile up big points, regardless of line combinations.
With opening night less than two months away, we’re continuing Blackhawk Up’s annual projections of key Blackhawks players’ goals, assists and points next season based on three-year trends, career averages and potential linemates. Here’s the over/under projection for Kane.
Last three regular season statistics:
- 2014-15: 61 games, 27 goals, 37 assists, 64 points, plus-10 rating.
- 2015-16: 82 games, 46 goals, 60 assists, 106 points, plus-17 rating.
- 2016-17: 82 games, 34 goals, 55 assists, 89 points, plus-11 rating.
Career average (10 years): 74 games, 29 goals, 47 assists, 75 points, plus-8 rating.
- Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Patrick Sharp — Probable.
- Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad, Ryan Hartman — Possible.
- Tanner Kero, Tomas Jurco, Alex DeBrincat — Outside shot.
Projection: 33 goals, 50 assists, 83 points
Kane’s 259 points over the past three seasons leads all players, including the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (258) and the Stars’ Jamie Benn (245). During that time Kane has augmented his legendary playmaking skill with a shoot-first mentality that makes him a more dangerous scoring threat and the NHL’s most exciting player.
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Sure, it will be difficult to recreate the highly productive, mutually supportive partnership that Kane fashioned with the “feisty little guy” from Russia, but Kane has a unique skillset that will continue to thrive with the Blackhawks’ roster of talented skaters.
Take a look at his magical stickwork in the ‘Hawks’ 5-1 win over Buffalo last Feb. 19 in which Kaner scored his 20th goal of the season, making him the first American-born player to notch at least 20 goals in each of his first ten NHL seasons. (And note Kane’s father Pat watching in the stands)
Kane also owns one of the craftiest ‘look-off’ moves in the league, as shown here on this Mar. 23 powerplay goal in the ‘Hawks’ 3-2 shootout win over Dallas.
But my favorite is this goal in the ‘Hawks’ 4-2 win at Montreal on Mar. 14 on a play initiated by center Artem Anisimov. Artie deftly protects the puck from the Habs’ Alexei Emelin, buttonhooks towards the boards, then feeds a perfect pass to Kane who fires a laser past Carey Price, who might as well been sitting on the bench.
Writer prediction: Over
Last season Kane generated 24 multi-point games (with a hat trick against Arizona) and a career-high 292 shots, scoring five game-winners among his 34 goals. After his stunning 26-game point streak in 2015, Kane managed only two 5-game point streaks in 2016-17, but never went pointless in more than two consecutive games — an astonishing feat of consistent scoring.
At just 5 feet,11 inches and 177 pounds, Kane has been remarkably durable. After missing the last 21 regular season games in 2015 with a broken left clavicle, he is the only ‘Hawk who skated in all 164 games the past two seasons.
Still only 28-years-old, Kane has yet to hit the peak of his career. If he stays healthy and continues to produce an average of one point per game, Kaner will easily exceed his career average in goals, assists and points next season. And that’s a projection that all ‘Hawks fans can cheer.