When the New York Rangers made the deal to acquire one of the best American-born players in the history of the sport, it happened because he wanted to be a New York Ranger. He was not happy after the Rangers acquired a different top-six winger as the New York native wanted to be a Ranger. So the question I’m wondering is simple. Does Patrick Kane come back to the New York Rangers?
If there was no salary cap and it was a luxury tax similar to some of the other major leagues, I think this is done already. I think Patrick Kane makes this roster better. Are you going to try and tell me he isn’t an upgrade on someone like Vitali Kravtsov? He’s been a good addition and he was one of the few players that contributed in the playoffs. He had a goal and five assists in that seven-game series.
So let’s look at the numbers. New York has to re-sign Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller and replace or bring back Kane himself, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyler Motte, Niko Mikkola, and Jaroslav Halak. That would be okay if the Rangers didn’t have just $11 million in cap space. They are being suffocated by those big contracts. Trouba, Fox, Panarin, Zibanejad, Kreider and Trocheck’s deals take up the bulk of it.
Will Kane take up all $11 million if they opt to bring him back? No. But he’d still have to take a team friendly deal to re-sign in New York. If he was to sign a deal similar to what Patrice Bergeron signed with the Boston Bruins in a $2.5 million deal for a year with heavy performance bonuses in an attempt to swing for one more cup before starting that 3 year wait to get into the Hockey Hall of Fame, I could understand that.
However, there’s no certainty he’ll want that. Kane might want to go home to Buffalo and help the Sabres reach the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. He may go chasing the money and find a home with some new wealth. We don’t know what the player wants and because he was so coy when it came to his exit interview, we don’t even know if he will be ready to play at the start of next season.
As has been noted so many times by so many people, Patrick Kane was playing with a hip issue and apparently has been for the last few years. He is going to find out later this week if the issue needs surgerical correction or not. If it does, he may not be ready for the start of the season. That is important because if he was to sign with the Rangers after the start of the season, he would carry a prorated cap hit and make it more affordable.
This is a debate we’re going to have until we know Kane’s future for certain. As of right now, he is Schrodinger’s winger. For those that do not know what I mean, Patrick Kane is the perfect example of two opposite states of matter existing at the same time. He’s a Ranger that is also not a Ranger but could also be a Ranger. It’s a confusing situation but we will for certain soon. I guess you could say we will open the box.