There has been lots of speculation online about the Edmonton Oilers acquiring Patrick Kane. At this point it is pure speculation, but let’s dig into if a trade is actually possible.
In honor of the complex conditions connected to the first round pick involved in the Sean Monahan trade to Montreal, I’ve looked at what would have to happen salary cap wise for the Oilers to acquire Kane.
Multiple things need to happen for Kane to arrive in Edmonton. The most important being him agreeing to come. He’s an elite player and guaranteed first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s produced the most points in the NHL over the past 13 seasons, including scoring more points than Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin.
For this article let’s pretend he agrees to come. Here’s a plausible phone conversation that puts the wheels in motion.
Duncan Keith (calling): Kaner, how are you?
Patrick Kane: Duncs, how’s the retirement home (laughs)?
Keith: Not bad. Lots of golf and licorice.
Kane: So, what’s up why you calling?
Keith: Well, I have a new job in retirement. I’m sure you saw the Kings had a 10-year reunion for their 2012 Cup win. Our 2020 reunion was canceled due to COVID, so I’m in charge or organizing our 10-year reunion next summer. Just wondering where you think we should host it.
Kane: If this is what retirement is about I’m playing another 10 years. Why don’t you host it at your swanky pad in Kelowna? I hear it’s beautiful. Oh yeah, and thanks for all the invites to see it.
Keith: Touché. You should come out now. Weather is amazing in August. I have lots of space and endless activities for the kids. You can see how great life in Canada is.
Kane: Why would I want to know that?
Keith: Dude, you can’t seriously want to stay in Chi-town this year. You might win 25 games. If you want to be on a competitive team, you should tell your agent you’d go to Edmonton. You thought the Breadman was a sick linemate, and he was unreal, but McD and Drai are on a different level. You’d love it.
Kane: Yeah, they are slick. But how cold is it in Edmonton?
Keith: It can be cold, not doubt, but you buy a house with a garage, park in it, drive to the rink and park underground. On the super cold days you don’t have to go outside, but when I did, the cold doesn’t go through you like in Chicago. It gets colder in Edmonton, but you don’t feel as cold. I can’t explain it. But those windy days in Chicago felt colder man.
Kane: What about shoveling?
Keith: Just be like Connor and get a heated driveway. I paid two kids in my neighbor to shovel mine. Paid them well, gave them a few tickets to games and a signed jersey. They had the snow off my driveway before I woke up some days (laughs).
Kane: I thought this call was about the reunion, but seems more like a recruiting call.
Keith: I’m retired man. I have lots of time on my hands. Just think about where we want the 10-year celly to be and consider Edmonton. It is very similar to your hometown of Buffalo.
**That was a fictional conversation, but a 10-year reunion for the Hawks should happen.**
A Kane trade only happens if he tells the Blackhawks he’s willing to go to Edmonton, or any other NHL team. For today, we assume he agrees to come, so now we look at what it will take for a trade to happen.
Chicago wants draft picks and young prospects. They are in full on rebuild. In fact they are tearing down their house right to the studs and rebuilding everything. It will be a long process.
Kane’s contract is actually very easy to trade for a few reasons. He carries a $10.5m cap hit, but he’s only owed $2.9m in salary. Chicago already paid his $4m signing bonus in July. Edmonton can’t take on the full $5.25m (I’d expect Chicago to retain 50% on any deal involving Kane). They have loads of cap space right now with him on the roster, so retaining shouldn’t be an issue.
Edmonton would need a third team involved, and the Arizona Coyotes are always willing to take on money for draft picks.
First, here’s how the money and cap hit would work with three teams.
Chicago trades Kane to Arizona and retains $5.25m cap hit and $1.45m in actual salary.
Arizona would then trade Kane to Edmonton. They would retain $2.65m in cap hit and $725K in actual salary.
Edmonton would have Kane on their cap with a $2.65m cap hit and only owe him $725K in money.
The cap hit and money is very moveable due to him only being owed $2.9m in cash.
The Coyotes got a 2024 second rounder and a 2025 third round pick to take the final two years of Zack Kassian’s contract which pays him $5.8m in actual dollars. How much would you have to give up to get them to retain $725K on Kane? Kane won’t agree to play in Arizona, so they are really only being used as a facilitator of the trade. I’d guess it would cost you a late round pick and a second tier prospect. Arizona has spent a lot on their scouting department. They believe that is how they will become competitive, so gaining another draft pick and/or a prospect to retain $700K in cash seems reasonable. Any prospect other than Holloway, Broberg, Bourgault and Schaefer would be on the table.
What Chicago wants in return is a bit more challenging. One of Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele has to go to Chicago to make the cap work for Edmonton. Then it is a matter of what other costs. Chicago traded 24-year-old Alex Debrincat to Ottawa for a first and second rounder in 2022 and a third round pick in 2024, so I have to a first round pick will be involved. Teams are hesitant to trade 2023 first rounders, so maybe Edmonton can convince them to make it a first in 2024.
The difference between the Kane and Debrincat deals is that Kane controls where he goes, and that could impact the return.
Would a first, a second and Puljujarvi be enough? Too much, considering Kane is unlikely to re-sign? Every trade is different. If Kane says he wants out, Chicago likely obliges and the return might be less than one would expect. Remember Chris Pronger, in his prime, was traded to Edmonton for Eric Brewer, Doug Lynch and Jeff Woywitka, and Pronger signed a five-year extension at the time of the trade.
Would Edmonton be willing to move two picks for a one-year rental of Kane? I don’t see how they could afford to re-sign him as he’d command at least $8m next summer. Kane is still an elite point producer. In the past four seasons, he has the third most points in the NHL trailing only Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Adding him would give Edmonton the best top-six in the NHL.
If Kane wants to go to Edmonton, or any other team, making the trade work cap wise is easier to break down than what the return would be.
The money, when using Arizona as the middle man, works nicely, especially with Kane only being owed $2.9m in salary.
WILL IT HAPPEN?
We’ve seen many big names moved this off-season, and unless he doesn’t want to uproot his family now or mid-season, I believe Kane will be traded out of Chicago. Why would he want to stay when he knows they can’t compete? The question is: Where is he willing to go?
I assume he wants to go to a contender, and for the first time in the decades the Oilers enter the season considered a legitimate contender. Edmonton is an attractive destination because they are a contender, and every NHL player saw McDavid and Draisaitl go nuclear in the playoffs as each averaged two-points-per-game. It doesn’t guarantee Kane would agree to come to Edmonton. He is an American-born player, who likely signs long-term in the US. But for one year, to play with McDavid and Draisaitl and take another run at the Cup, would Kane agree to a trade to Edmonton?
I still think the odds are lower than 50/50, but unlike in previous seasons, I think Edmonton would be one of the few teams he might consider, and it has been a long time since you could say the Oilers are a legitimate contender.
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