Should the Rangers bring back this 3-time Stanley Cup-winning winger?

New York Rangers right wing Patrick Kane (88) skates against the New Jersey Devils during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers went all in at last year’s trade deadline, acquiring a bounty of talent in hopes of capturing their first Stanley Cup since 1994. Ultimately, the team fell short as the New Jersey Devils eliminated them in the first round.

One of their significant acquisitions, Vladimir Tarasenko, has already left in free agency, opting to head across the border to Ottawa on a one-year, five-million-dollar deal. But their other blockbuster addition, Patrick Kane, has remained unsigned due to an offseason hip resurfacing surgery.

Patrick Kane gives a positive injury update

Kane recently spoke with the Associated Press about his injury, providing a positive update on his recovery.

“It’s just exciting to see progression and just feeling better on the ice. Kind of getting back to my old self, so it’s pretty exciting.”

Patrick Kane via The Associated Press h/t ESPN

In addition, the nine-time all-star said he has an upcoming doctor’s appointment during which he hopes to be cleared for contact. Kane chose to have the surgery to fix his lingering hip issue that affected his production with the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers last season.

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The 34-year-old said he is eager to return to playing but plans to stick to the six-month rehabilitation timeline.

“I think we’re at the point now where, I mean, could I come back early? Yeah, probably,” Kane said. “But does it make sense? You know, it might be better to take the full time and just make sure I’m at 105-110% instead of just 90-95. But it’s a lot better than I was last year.”

With Kane’s recovery supposedly going well and him remaining unsigned, the Rangers may want to consider reuniting with the three-time Stanley Cup champion.

Why the Rangers should try to re-sign Kane

Signing a player of Kane’s caliber is a no-brainer. The 34-year-old was excellent in 19 regular season games with the Blueshirts, scoring five goals and seven assists. The former Hart Trophy winner also scored six points in seven playoff games with only one goal.  The Rangers’ salary cap restraints may prevent them from giving Kane a new contract.

Can the Rangers afford to re-sign Kane?

According to CapFriendly.com, the Rangers are $46,000 over the salary cap and are currently projected to have a full roster.

The likely trade candidate would be Barclay Goodrow. He’s currently slated to play third-line right wing and trading away the 30-year-old would allow the newly signed Blake Wheeler to drop down in the lineup and open up a top-six role for Kane. Goodrow’s 3.6 million dollar cap hit for the next four years could be challenging to trade, however, if they can find a suitor, a deal would free up the necessary space to add Kane. 

If Kane and the Rangers can come to an agreement, the 34-year-old could be a crucial contributor in bringing a fifth Stanley Cup to the Big Apple.