Patrick Kane is on an island at present. He is a Hall of Fame wing, a three time Stanley Cup winner, and has played for one franchise his entire career. We've seen him grow his game as well as in his personal life for over 15 years now. If you are young and still in your 20s, then you likely don't know a Blackhawks roster without him.
Wednesday night the Chicago Blackhawks were looking for a win against the very medicore Nashville Predators. Patrick Kane had his A game with him. He was all over the ice and the puck was finding him all night. Kane skated over 20 minutes to lead all Chicago forwards as well as a ridiculous 9 shots on goal, many of which were considered high danger for the opposition.
Was this just bad luck that he didn't pot one into the back of the net? Was it that he wasn't getting help from his linemates? Maybe it's because the Predators have one of the leagues best goalies in Saros? Or maybe, just maybe this is the start of Kane's decline as an elite player.
I don't like even mentioning this to be honest. It's Patrick Kane. He will always be good. Right? The Blackhawks are on an 8 game losing streak, a streak in which they have managed only 9 goals. Ouch. On paper, the Hawks top 6 are not that bad to produce only 9 goals in 8 games honestly. Kane, Toews, Domi, Raddysh, Kurashev, and Tyler Johnson is surely more talented than that right?
Maybe it's the constant juggling in of normally bottom 6 forwards into the top 6 that is the problem. Dickinson, Khaira, Lafferty and Athanasiou would be bottom 6 stalwarts on almost all other squads after all. Yet, we are seeing them get power play time as well as middle 6 to top line minutes.... sometimes with Patrick Kane.
So which is it? A bad roster that gives our star no help or a natural decline in ability to produce at the highest level? For me, it's both. If you watched this last matchup, Kane was aggressive and his passes were on point to his linemates. They were not finishing said passes nor were they in the right position to help Kane when being double teamed. Secondly, Kane wasn't getting velocity on his wristers or was he finishing in the top corners with lift. That was evident on the final shot of the game down 4-2 where he had a wide open cage upper right. He simply missed that one.
Is Patrick Kane still a good player, absolutely. He is a play maker and I believe that on a good team could still be a 50 assist wing. On this team? We are maybe seeing a 50-60 point season. His value is plummenting because of this. If I were a contendor like a Rangers, Avalanche, or Bruins team I'd immediately want to start a dialogue about how to acquire Patrick Kane on the cheap. While I understand the cap issues in such a deal, I believe that Kyle Davidson will ultimately acquire a less than ideal contract back in order to maximize the return.
That all being said, I'm still in the camp that says Patrick Kane will not want to be moved. He is a hockey historian and wants those Blackhawk "all-time" records. He wants to see his name with one franchise (an orginial 6 at that). He wants to help Chicago get back to playoff and cup contention. He wants to not decline as a player.
The path ahead will be a hard one for our star player. One that he only knows the answers to. Does he ride out these tough days and wait for help or does he look for a new path on a team that is already full of good players? Either way, we are cheering you on Patrick Kane!