What can Patrick Kane bring to the table for a contending team in the 2023-24 season?
Hockey's most prestigious unrestricted free agent, soon-to-be 35-year-old Patrick Kane, is about to be off the market.
This will be the latest instalment in what's turned out to be a pretty tumultuous calendar year for the Chicago Blackhawks legend and no-doubt Hall of Famer. A down year on the scoresheet and the cold, harsh realities of the rebuild taking place at the United Center forced him onto the trade block at last season's deadline, where the New York Rangers stepped up with an offer sufficient to bring him into the fold for what was supposed to be a long playoff run.
Instead, Kane played worse on the Rangers than he had with the rebuilding Blackhawks, casting doubt on the theory that his poor production in Chicago could be attributed entirely to the environment. The new theory was that a nagging hip injury and difficulty adjusting to a new team were responsible for his lacklustre performance with the blue shirts.
The sudden deterioration of Kane's form offensively – to say nothing of his longstanding league-worst defensive impact – made him one of the league's most intriguing free agents last summer. Right up until he elected to undergo hip surgery and push the decision to the fall.
Then, a few weeks back, his agency posted a bizarre sizzle reel of Kane performing basic drills, as if to demonstrate the extent of his recovery.
Suddenly, the clock is ticking. Kane is reportedly beginning to narrow down his options and appears to have plenty of suitors offering deals ranging from one-season to multi-year options. But what kind of player can we expect Kane to be at this point in his career? Who does he fit best with, and does he fit at all? Read on to find out.
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