Last night the New Jersey Devils advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-0 game 7 win over the New York Rangers. It was a game that saw a clear matchup advantage for the younger and faster New Jersey squad. The Rangers, while extremely talented, will now face very difficult decisions in their expedited off-season.
Far down the list of questions is what will they do with unrestricted free agent Patrick Kane? More than likely, as they are committed to alot of long term salary, they will look to either move on from Kane or offer him a low term and low money deal. The anticipation is that the union will be over and that Patrick Kane will have to look at new options.
In review of his last few months it is clear to me that Patrick Kane needs to take his time and look at a team's roster and play style before approaching a GM / Ownership with a deal. For me that list of teams is quite short.
Before we dive into that list, please note I do not believe the Blackhawks are an option at this time. Kyle Davidson has moved on from all of the dynasty members and is embarking on a rebuild with youth and draft picks.
As mentioned by me numerous times, I fully believe that the Carolina Hurricanes are the correct fit. They are a veteran and deep team that is looking for a playmaking wing. With a roster full of good goal scorers from the left side it's easy to envision Kane as a great Hurricanes right wing.
Another team I could see Patrick Kane play for is the Colorado Avalanche. Coming off a disappointing round 1 exit, the former champs will be looking for upgrades this offseason. There is also a well documented past of conversations and rumors involving the Aves desire to get Kane into a Colorado jersey.
Lastly, the Golden Knights could be a tremendous fit for him. Not only are they a team that is all in to win a Stanley Cup, but they have a city that offers warm weather and an income tax free dividend. While not the allure that an orginial 6 would have to his legacy, Vegas would provide Patrick Kane and his family with a great encompassing environment.
Coming off of a 10.5 million x 8 year deal, it may seem implausible to some to accept a low money deal, however I believe that Kane is looking to win now. That means joining a team that is likely at the top of the hard cap ceiling already. Would he be ok with taking a 1 year deal for a few million? Perhaps, but ultimately his play and numbers may tell teams that is actually his worth. In Chicago he is worth more as he sells fans on nostalgia and flash plays, but in another city he may just be another wing that needs to hit the score sheet more often than not. So what's his number? Could be lower than we all think, even him...