The Kane Debate

Photo credit:Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Robin Brownlee
1 year ago
It doesn’t matter if I’m sold on the idea of seeing Patrick Kane leave the Chicago Blackhawks to play for the Edmonton Oilers. Likewise, it doesn’t matter if you’re for or against seeing the future hall-of-famer draped in Oilers’ silks as his career winds down.
What matters most, and what we sometimes forget as we debate what we think should happen, what we would do if we were calling the shots, is if Kane is actually interested in becoming a member of the Oilers and if GM Ken Holland, who’d have to find a way to make the numbers work, is interested in having him here.
A thumbs-up from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl at the top of the Oilers marquee matters in the big picture too, but only if Kane decides he wants to leave what looks to me like a growing tire fire in Chicago for Edmonton, where he has a chance to win another Stanley Cup.
In years past, be it during the Decade of Darkness or the lean years right after Edmonton’s fifth Stanley Cup parade, not having a reasonable chance to win is what kept free agents from signing to play here. It’s what had Edmonton on the no-trade lists of so many players. It wasn’t five months of winter or the lousy roads or even playing in a building well past its best years, which was the case in the last decade of Rexall Place, that kept players away.


Not having a chance to win was the single biggest factor back then. The Oilers missed the playoffs from 1992-93 to 1995-96. What played into the fall from contention more than anything was seeing the team sold off in pieces like a wrecked Ferrari, something that started with the sale of Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings as Peter Pocklington’s financial house of cards began to collapse.
Then, as we all remember, came the Edmonton Investor’s Group, which rode to the rescue with Cal Nichols leading the charge when it looked like the Oilers might be sold and headed to Texas. Even then, the Oilers operated on a shoestring budget despite several cash calls. The Oilers couldn’t compete for the best players with a self-imposed salary cap.
All this we know. The point is everything is different today. In Daryl Katz, the Oilers have an owner who can and does spend to the salary cap ceiling – beyond it right now. With McDavid and Draisaitl and the ability to acquire and keep the likes of Evander Kane, Zach Hyman and Darnell Nurse, the Oilers have a window to be legitimate Cup contenders. There is a chance for this team to win with a tweak here and a tweak there.
That’s why this Kane speculation has legs. We can argue whether the money might be better spent on the blueline. Fair comment. We can toss around what it’ll take to make a deal happen and have it come in under the cap. That said, my belief is that Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer has been all over this because there’s a very good chance Kane will end up here — whether you or I think it’s a good idea or not.


“For me, all day you should consider doing it, absolutely,” Stauffer said on his show Monday. “Why not? And you do it now. You go make it happen.”
Like I said off the top (and in response to a question in our last Monday Mailbag), I might not be that interested in Kane, but it doesn’t matter. If Kane sees a chance to win with the Oilers and Holland is willing to make it happen, the training staff might have to haul jersey No. 88 out of mothballs. Take your best shot.

Previously by Robin Brownlee

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