By now anyone who follows the NHL knows Chicago Blackhawk star forward Patrick Kane has been the focus of a rape investigation this summer. It’s not something we’ve written about here at Boston Pucks, nor do I plan on having anything to say about the very serious nature of the allegations he’s facing. But it’s something that certainly most hockey die-hards have been keeping an eye on leading up to the start of the 2015-2016 season.
Until recently nothing on-ice related to his situation had developed in regards to Patrick Kane’s standing with the team. Sure, people have wondered if he’d start the season on the ice or under suspension but essentially the team and Kane have been silent on where they are at. But the chatter is now starting to leak. According to the Chicago Sun-Times there have been at least 5 teams who have contacted the Blackhawks saying they’d be willing to make a trade for the superstar forward. And what’s worse; the articles source states Kane has “disrespected the team and his teammates”, and that “the Hawks have run out of patience”.
This season Patrick Kane’s new eight-year, $84 million contract kicks in. His cap hit is huge, $10.5 million per season. Neither of those figures will be a problem for a team with cap room looking to make a massive splash by trading for him but the real risk comes in the form of Patrick Kane’s character.
If he survives the rape investigation would another team even want him? Yes. Just like Michael Vick, Adrian Peterson, and Ben Roethlisberger of the NFL, players can serve time (or not) and come back and play. Team owners know the financial value of a 3-time Stanley Cup champion like Kane and it only takes one of the 30 owners to be willing to take a chance on Kane. That would most certainly happen.
Unfortunately for Kane no matter how much on-ice success he’s had helping lead Chicago to glory there is always a limit. Put bluntly; in the harsh business world that is professional sports the Chicago Blackhawks can look at Kane’s on-ice performance and easily conclude they got what they wanted out of him and his personal issues aren’t worth it anymore. He’s far more expendable and easier to get over after winning them three Stanley Cups should they want to sever their ties. No trade would happen while the investigation is ongoing. The case could get settled, he could win or lose, or worst case do prison time. No team will take him until there is a legal conclusion. But there’s no doubt he’s going to be fighting hard off the ice for his on-ice livelihood and freedom. There’s a good chance it won’t end with him putting a #88 sweater back on in Chicago.