Blackhawks Reporter Teases Potential 2024 Reunion With Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane of the Detroit Red Wings could return to the Chicago Blackhawks as a free agent.

Getty Patrick Kane of the Detroit Red Wings could return to the Chicago Blackhawks as a free agent.

The Chicago Blackhawks won three Stanley Cup titles in a brief span of six years between 2010 and 2015 but they had not sniffed the playoffs for the last four seasons, failing even to reach 30 wins in each of those years.

Blackhawks fans wonder if a veteran franchise legend returning to Chicago could boost wunderkind Connor Bedard’s development.

The Athletic’s Scott Powers discussed the potential return of upcoming free agent forward Patrick Kane to the Blackhawks in response to a question submitted by a fan to a mailbag article posted on Thursday, May 23.

“What are the chances the Blackhawks sign Patrick Kane this offseason?” a reader asked Powers. The reporter built a comprehensive explainer of the situation and the potential outcome.

“I’ve heard enough in the past few weeks to believe that the Blackhawks are going to at least internally discuss whether to re-sign Kane,” Powers wrote, teasing a potential attempt by the franchise to bring Kane back. “The answer may not change, but I do think it’s an agenda item as they lead up to free agency.”

Kane spoke to Powers on February 21, discussing his departure from Chicago, the forward revealed he had not closed the door to re-signing with the Blackhawks before the franchise decided to trade him to New York.

“If they came to me and said, ‘We want you to be a Blackhawk for life. Can we work something out?’ I think it probably would have been tough to say no, just because of what happened there and the success we had and just the relationship with the organization,” Kane said.

Patrick Kane Entering Free Agency After 1 Year in Detroit

Last year, Kane entered free agency after spending half of he 2022-23 season in New York playing for the Rangers. That was the first time Kane played for a different franchise than the Blackhawks.

Chicago drafted Kane with the No. 1 pick of the 2007 NHL draft and instantly threw him into their lineup as a rookie. Kane appeared in all 82 games through the 2007-08 season. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie of the year.

After 15 full seasons playing hockey for the Blackhawks (and winning three Stanley Cups with the franchise) and midway through his 16th season in Chicago, the Hawks traded Kane to New York before the 2023 trade deadline.

“To begin with, I was confident the Blackhawks were going to trade Patrick Kane last season. I was confident they weren’t going to re-sign him last summer. Up until a few weeks ago, I was confident Kane wouldn’t be returning to the Blackhawks next season,” Powers wrote. “But, now, I’m not so confident about what’s going to happen.”

Kane recovered from hip surgery and signed a one-year, $2.75 million deal with the Detroit Red Wings in November 2023. He finished the 2023-24 season with a solid 47 points (20 goals, 27 assists) in 50 games. The production improvement was notable, with Kane going from 0.78 points per game in 2023 to 0.94 this season.

“There is the question of whether Kane wants to return, but I do believe he’s open to it,” Powers said. “Kyle Davidson made sure Kane’s departure was as smooth as possible, and that the relationship wasn’t fractured.”

Blackhawks Would Only Bring Back Kane on a Career-Ending Contract

Kane will turn 36 years old at the start of the 2024-25 season. The Blackhawks are taking the first steps of their rebuild and plan to make the No. 2 pick in the upcoming 2024 NHL draft. It’s fair to say the timelines don’t quite align.

That said, the Blackhawks and Kane share a very strong and successful relationship built over a decade and a half. Powers thinks both parties would like to see the forward finish his career in the Windy City and retire as a Blackhawk.

“The Blackhawks would love for Kane to retire as a Chicago Blackhawk,” Powers wrote. “That may happen regardless, with something like a one-day contract, but it’d be more meaningful for him and the organization if he played his final season in Chicago.”

The reporter, however, doesn’t think Chicago is interested in signing Kane to a long-term deal at this point in the franchise rebuild and Kane’s career.

“I think it would partly be Kane stating exactly how much longer he wanted to play,” Powers wrote. “That’s not to say the Blackhawks would ask Kane to retire after next season.

“They also wouldn’t want to push Kane out again if he did return. They’d like for it to be a mutual and fair timetable for his last dance.”

Kane scored 446 goals and 779 assists for 1,225 points in 1,161 games during his 16-year stint in Chicago.

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