With a lot of people talking about a possible Broadway return for future first-ballot Hall of Fame winger Patrick Kane, there are reasons to do it and reasons to avoid it. Kane was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2023 NHL trade deadline and is currently an unrestricted free agent after having hip surgery in the summer to repair what was a long-standing issue.
Kane’s still looking around the league for his next team, as he wants to play for a contending team. It’s why the door back to Chicago for the Blackhawks icon is shut for the time being, according to ESPN. Kane wants a team where he can go and settle in for the season and compete for the Stanley Cup. At 34, Kane understands that there isn’t much runway left in his career, so he’s trying to win while he still can.
This brings us to the New York Rangers, off to a 5-2 start and looking like one of the strongest defensive teams in the NHL under new head coach Peter Laviolette. Laviolette has been a long-time opponent of arguably the best American player in Kane, losing the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals with the Philadelphia Flyers when Kane scored the ghost goal. Laviolette also saw his Predators teams take on the Blackhawks towards the end of their dynasty.
With the Rangers looking as strong as they have done under Laviolette, some would be skeptical about messing with the lines and combinations of the team to accommodate a winger who did not impress many during his short spell with the organization at the end of last season. However, under a new coach with a new direction and a new system, you never know if the result will be the same.
Under former bench boss Gerard Gallant, Kane never found a consistent home in the lineup. He was tried out with Kreider and Zibanejad, as well as with Trocheck and Panarin. Still, the other major deadline acquisition for the Rangers of Vladimir Taraseno seemed to be a better fit on both lines, leaving Patrick Kane, who was struggling with injury, constantly looking lost on the ice.
Now that he’s had his ailments addressed, is it worth messing with the team chemistry and the stability the lineup seems to have right now to add Kane? This is where the debate is. If he’s healthy and back to his best, Patrick Kane would instantly become one of the best weapons on the roster. However, at the age of 34, it’s unlikely he will get back to being the dominant player he was once upon a time.
Suppose the Rangers could get a look at Kane in a competitive environment before committing to the player. In that case, they may be in a situation where adding him into the top nine instead of someone like Blake Wheeler could improve this roster. But if he cannot compete at the top level anymore and looks like he did last year as a Blueshirt, there’s no reason to go near him.