Injury to Patrick Kane could have ripple effect on trade market
Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (88) tries to get around New Jersey Devils defenceman Eric Gelinas during NHL play at the United Center. (Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports)
Patrick Kane’s unfortunate injury Tuesday night has suddenly created potential waves throughout the trade market as the March 2 deadline approaches.
With Kane out three months after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a left clavicle fracture, the spotlight now shifts to Chicago during the NHL’s version of Let’s Make A Deal.
“The procedure went very well and we anticipate a full recovery in approximately 12 weeks,” Blackhawks head physician Dr. Michael Terry, one of the doctors who performed the operation, said in a statement.
According to the timeline given by Dr. Terry, Kane will not be back until the second half of May — just about the time the Western Conference final is going on.
The Blackhawks are third in the Central Division with 77 points and have five teams — the Jets, Flames, Wild, Kings and Canucks — within nine points in the Western Conference. And now, with the loss of Kane, who was 15 points ahead of second-place Jonathan Toews in team scoring (64-49), the Hawks likely will be on the hunt to partially plug that offensive void via the trade front.
But those teams playing the role of sellers know the Hawks are in the market to augment an offence that already sports the likes of Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad. And whether Chicago opts to pursue the likes of an Antoine Vermette from Arizona, Jaromir Jagr from New Jersey or any of the other leading forward candidates expected to be moved, Kane’s injury certainly helps elevate the asking prices.
Maybe it already has, judging by the deal the Maple Leafs made Wednesday, sending pending unrestricted free agent forward Daniel Winnik to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a second-round pick in 2016, a fourth-rounder in 2015, and forward Zach Sill.
“It’s hard to believe the Leafs got two picks, including a second, for a guy who could walk away anyway in the summer,” one Eastern Conference executive told QMI Agency Wednesday night. “It just shows you how prices are going up as the demand grows.”
A demand that has been further fuelled by Kane’s injury.
In a year that, at least on the surface, seems to be absent of any available big-name scorers, Vermette and his 13 goals seem to be at the top of the list. But the Coyotes will be looking to get a lucrative haul back in return, so you can bet the cost for the Hawks or any team will be steep, given what the Leafs landed for a third liner in Winnik.
Jagr, the Devils’ Michael Ryder, the Flames’ Curtis Glencross and the Sabres Chris Stewart are other names being bandied about. But none of those players will come cheap.
Because the Hawks put Kane on long-term IR, they have opened up as much as $7.5 million in cap space to bring in some help. Trouble is, how do you replace one of the most gifted players on the planet?
Answer: You can’t.
Aside from the Winnik deal, it was a busy day in NHL circles with the Jets and Kings, like the Pens, getting reinforcements for the stretch drive through trades. Here is how we rate the deals.
Penguins Get: F Daniel WInnik
Leafs Get: 2016 2nd-rounder, 2015 4th-rounder, F Zach Sill. Leafs pick up 50% of Winnik’s remaining salary.
THE VERDICT: After acquiring sniper David Perron from the Oilers for forward Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick in the 2015 draft, GM Jim Rutherford pretty much let the hockey world know that it’s Stanley-Cup-Or-Bust for the Pens this spring by dealing another high selection — this one a second rounder — in the package to acquire Winnik. While the ex-Leaf certainly boosts the Pens’ third line, execs from around the league feel they gave up a significant amount to get a guy who can walk away as a UFA this summer. The bottom line: The Leafs win their portion of the deal for getting such a cache for a player whose contract runs out this summer. As for the Pens, if they win the Cup, it will have been worth it.
Kings Get: D Andrej Sekera
Hurricanes Get: 1st-rounder (2015 if Kings make playoffs, 2016 if they don’t), D prospect Roland McKeown.
THE VERDICT: With the legal issues of D Slava Voynov a murky situation and fellow blueliner Alec Martinez sidelined since Feb. 7 with concussion-like symptoms, the Kings were desperate to add blueline help. Having seen the team reel off eight consecutive victories, GM Dean Lombardi opted to be proactive in adding a defenceman who has 19 points in 57 games this season. Carolina did not pick up any of the salary of the pending UFA, so the Kings are right up against the cap. Truth is, Lombardi had to do something or risk wearing out stud defenceman Drew Doughty, who’s playing 30 minutes a night. As for the Canes, GM Ron Francis gets that coveted first-rounder as part of the rebuild.
Jets Get: F Jiri Tlusty
Hurricanes Get: 2016 3rd-rounder, conditional 2015 6th-rounder.
THE VERDICT: While the Pens and Kings may have overpaid to make their Wednesday acquisitions, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff certainly did not. Give him credit for picking up a 26-year-old kid who has 13 goals this season without having to surrender a first- or second-round pick. With Blake Wheeler having been placed on injured reserve earlier in the day, depth up front is a commodity sorely needed on a Jets team clawing to make the playoffs. As for Carolina, we’re thinking maybe Francis should have held out for a second-rounder, especially with the demand for forwards expected to go up in the coming days.