Will the Edmonton Oilers be in the mix to sign Patrick Kane?
Photo credit:Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
26 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers need one more skilled winger to round out their top-six forward group. Luckily enough, the solution is available on the free agent market.
Patrick Kane has yet to sign with a team, as he underwent hip resurfacing surgery at the start of June. The timetable was set for four to six months, which has passed or is coming up soon, depending on how you view it.
Ironically, one of Edmonton’s biggest areas of need is a right winger who can play in the top six. Connor Brown was meant to be this player, but after eight games, he has yet to register a point, is a minus-five, and has been shuffled down into the bottom-five forward group.
It makes sense as to why he’s had a rough start, as he only played four games in 2022-23 before he tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season. But the reality is the Oilers are soon going to have to commit to paying Brown a $3.225 million performance bonus for reaching 10 games played. That bonus will be pushed to next year’s salary cap and will make things difficult for the team during the off-season.
While Kane has also had a major surgery, there’s no arguing that he has had a much more illustrious career. The three-time Stanley Cup winner has 451 goals and 1237 points in 1180 career games. Despite playing through a hip injury in 2022-23, Kane scored 21 goals and 57 points in 73 games between the awful Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Rangers.
In the season prior, Kane had 26 goals and 92 points in 78 games, so there’s definitely still a lot left in the tank for the 34-year-old right-winger.
In contrast, Brown’s career-high in goals is 21 in 2020-21, and 43 points in 2019-20, both seasons coming with the Ottawa Senators. This isn’t to take away from Brown, he’s still a good player who is capable of scoring 20+ goals and plays a heavy game. Although, he may be more suited to third-line duties.
How could you make the cap work:
At the end of the 2022-23 season, Kane’s eight-year, $84 million contract ended. If he wants any figure like that, there’s absolutely no chance for the Oilers (or, well, anybody, for that matter, to sign him. Kane coming back for a shot at the Stanley Cup will require him to accept a small contract, perhaps one like Brown’s, that features a performance bonus.
As it stands, the Oilers have $382,759 in project cap space, meaning that they’d have to make a move to sign Kane even if he signed here at the league minimum. One of the most obvious moves they could make is sending Mattias Janmark down to the minors or trading him, as he has a $1,000,000 deal. This, in turn, could be used to sign Kane if he is willing to take a pay cut to try to win his fourth Stanley Cup.
There may be more appealing options:
Kane is from Buffalo. Interestingly enough, Buffalo has $8.822,389 in cap space, which would allow him to sign for a playoff team while also making quite a bit of money. While Buffalo hasn’t had a great start to their season (4-5), Kane would help put them in a position to break their 12-year playoff drought.
The team with the most available cap is also the team that Kane played for throughout his career. The Chicago Blackhawks have $11,181,147 in available cap, and a line of Taylor Hall, Connor Bedard, and Patrick Kane could be very fun. While they aren’t in a position to sniff the playoff race in 2023-24, nor will they for a while.
Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman has also mentioned the Dallas Stars, New York Rangers, and Florida Panthers as potential destinations. All three of those teams are in the same boat as the Oilers, as they all have less than $1,000,000 in salary cap remaining.
It doesn’t seem likely that Kane will sign with the Oilers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Edmonton is interested and we hear that they’re in the mix. Imagine a line of Kane x2 and McDavid and the depth scoring on the other three lines. This scenario would have a third line of Warren Foegele, Ryan McLeod, and Connor Brown, which could be one of the best in the league.
It may be a fever dream for Patrick Kane to join the Oilers, but if they could somehow pull it off, it’d solidify their chances as a cup contender.
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