All eyes are on former New York Rangers forward Patrick Kane as everyone is still waiting to see where the superstar ends up in free agency. The Rangers acquired Kane at last season’s trade deadline, presumably as a one-year rental. With the Blueshirts cap-strapped, affording to extend Kane once seemed far too unlikely. However, as the offseason progresses, there could be an opportunity for Kane to make a return to Broadway.
Patrick Kane loved his time with the New York Rangers
Kane has been outspoken about how much he enjoyed his time in the Big Apple last season. Coming off major surgery, the 34-year-old forward may be willing to play on this new-look Rangers team for another chance to hoist the ever illusive Stanley Cup.
“Of course, I would love to be back. If feel like if I can feel better, with this team and this opportunity, I would love that chance. I know they have young guys to sign and probably other priorities. It was an amazing experience for me. I still feel pretty young, the passion is still there. I know I can be a top player.via THEFOURTHPERIOD.COM
Can the Rangers still afford to sign Patrick Kane?
According to CapFriendly, the Rangers currently have $2,278,417 in salary cap space. Given the team’s lack of funds at this current moment, though, someone would have to be moved in order to get a feasible offer on the table. Even if New York were to clear the cap space necessary to sign Kane, there is no guarantee that he agrees to a deal. Attempting to re-sign him would be a high-risk move, however, it could also be extremely beneficial to have a fully healthy Kane on this Rangers squad.
Kane has made it clear that he intends to make a decision later in the offseason to get a clearer picture of what his potential suitors will look like. This also means that the Rangers have time to clear cap space and at least get an offer out to the veteran. But the Blueshirts may need to part ways with another valuable veteran forward in order to afford Kane.
The only Ranger with a big enough cap hit to tip the scales would unfortunately be Barclay Goodrow. Goodrow’s cap hit is an astonishing $3.6 mil for the next 4 years, per CapFriendly. That is a lot of money to pay for a bonafide bottom-six player.
Goodrow has been solid for the Rangers but, considering his contract does not include a no-trade or no-move clause, he could be a cap casualty if GM Chris Drury wants to keep Kane in the iconic blue sweater.
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An Unlikely Option: Burrying Kane on LTIR
The last option, and least likely of the two, would be that the Rangers sign Kane to a deal and bury him on LTIR. If he did not return until the playoffs, similar to Mark Stone with the Golden Knights this past season, then his cap would never hit the books officially and he would be able to participate in the postseason. Alternatively, they could sign him to a contract and, when he was ready to return midseason, the cap would just need to be cleared immediately.
What would a Kane contract look like?
Based on other deals around the league, a potential deal to sign Kane could look similar to Goodrow’s current deal. It would have to be around that price point ($3.6M AAV) due to the team’s lack of cap space, but for the shorter term, giving the veteran the flexibility to sign elsewhere for more on the heels of a good season.
Everyone is going to be looking to buy low on Kane due to his recovery timetable. Similar to last year, Kane controls his own fate and could bring himself back to playing for the New York Rangers this season.