Patrick Kane wants to make a return to the NHL, but he has yet to find a new team.
The former Chicago Blackhawks star was traded to the New York Rangers last season and tallied 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in 19 regular season games, then added six points (one goal, five assists) in the first round of the playoffs against the New Jersey Devils.
Kane is 35 years old and underwent hip surgery in June. He has a Hall of Fame resume with three Stanley Cup rings and was, for most of his career, one of the NHL's best players. But he's not that guy anymore. It might be difficult for him to find a team willing to offer him a multi-year contract given his age and health.
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Teams often speculated as potential fits for Kane over the last couple months include the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings. Could the Boston Bruins also be in the mix for Kane's services?
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet provided an update on Kane's situation during Monday's episode of the 32 Thoughts Podcast with co-host Jeff Marek.
“There's a couple of teams out there that suspect that Boston might be another team that's poked around on this,” Friedman said. “Again, it’s all circumstantial evidence, but it makes sense, because the thing about Boston is: They’re a good team, they could win. I don’t know if they could do more than one year. I’m not sure that makes any sense for them. But they are the kind of organization that would look at Kane and say: ‘Does this help us, or in a good year, what can we add to make us better?'"
The Bruins do need another winger who can score. They've gotten better-than-expected production at center from Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle. Adding another center would be nice for the Bruins, but a middle-six wing with offensive skill is probably the most impactful move general manager Don Sweeney could make up front. Kane is a right wing, and the Bruins already have two top-six right wingers in David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk. Left wing is a more of a need because after Brad Marchand, there's not a ton of reliable players on that depth chart.
Trading for a defenseman might also be a priority at some point for the Bruins if their recent defensive issues aren't solved soon.
The Bruins have been aggressive in the trade market in recent years, particularly last season when Sweeney made multiple deals to add to a team that, at the time, was the favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Kane is a free agent, so he won't cost any prospects or draft picks to acquire, but that doesn't mean the Bruins should pursue him. The Bruins also have just $712,500 in salary cap space right now, per CapFriendly. That's probably not enough to sign Kane without making other moves.
Should the Bruins use up what little cap space they have to acquire a 35-year-old in the later stages of his career who recently had hip surgery? Probably not. Targeting a left wing, or calling up a prospect such as Fabian Lysell, would be a better move for the Bruins.