What the Blackhawks’ Kane trade means for the team’s future


New York Rangers player Patrick Kane. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

The legendary star of the Chicago Blackhawks, Patrick Kane, was traded to the New York Rangers in a three-way trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday, February 28. The trade was one for the ages, giving away arguably the best Blackhawks player of all time for a mere couple of (not amazing) draft picks and players. The trade marks an end to the era of the Blackhawks’ core of the last decade or so, introducing general manager Kyle Davidson’s complete rebuild of the once-great team.

The specifics of the Patrick Kane trade. (nhl.com)

Specifically, Kane’s trade brought players Vili Saarijarvi and Andy Welinski to Chicago, along with a conditional 2023 second-round draft pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick. New York gained Kane and player Cooper Zech, while Arizona got a conditional 2025 third-round pick. Unfortunately, Chicago’s unfortunately less-than-stellar gains left many fans feeling almost backstabbed.

Despite this, Davidson’s move, along with similar ones of his in the recent past, is actually very beneficial. Kane is, as any hockey fan will tell you, of course, worth much more than what the Blackhawks got. The problem for the Hawks is that Kane didn’t want to be traded to any team other than the Rangers, as he made very clear throughout this year. With no competition for him, New York took the obvious opportunity; hence, the weak trade return.

Davidson, however, is not to be blamed in the slightest. His predecessor, the very foolish and irresponsible Stan Bowman, did all of the dirty work. After being handed an extraordinarily strong set of rookies in 2009, Bowman did little to nothing to improve the team, and in fact, through the years, successfully made it worse and worse. Whether it be the historic 2017 Artemi Panarin trade, the greatly disappointing Byfuglien trade of 2010, or similar exchanges, any Hawks fan will tell you how much of a disgrace Bowman was to the organization.

Davidson auspiciously took the role of Blackhawks GM in 2021 after many years in other types of management and quickly turned the fate of the declining team around. He signed forward Max Domi to then trade him for draft picks, traded Patrick Kane, and completed some more successful moves. All of this is done for the future. We may be losing valuable players now, but with the team’s future going nowhere, all of this is necessary in order to ensure good players five years from now.

Nonetheless, the obvious sadness of the Kane trade is imminent. Being the doubtless star of the last decade for the Hawks, such disappointment was bound to happen for fans. However, hopefully, they understand that such moves are necessary in order to progress. Kane’s whopping 8-year $84 million contract is simply untenable for a team that is hoping to turn around and do so fast.

Hopefully, Davidson will remain the GM, and such trades will continue. The more draft picks, the better, as it is really the best solution to the Blackhawks’ continuously crumbling team. This year’s draft will almost certainly be a big one, and with luck, fans will soon realize the optimistic outlook of trades such as Kane’s, even with the sadness that they inevitably bring.