Should the Edmonton Oilers Trade for Patrick Kane?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 21: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks forechecks during a 4-1 Los Angeles Kings win at Arena on April 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 21: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks forechecks during a 4-1 Los Angeles Kings win at Arena on April 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The trade rumors surrounding Patrick Kane have been swirling over the past week, with Oilers insiders such as Gene Principe and Bob Stauffer confirming Edmonton’s interest in the superstar winger on Oilers Now.

Kane has 1 year left on his cap hit of $10.5m, but he wouldn’t be impossible for the Oilers to acquire with a little bit of creativity.

If the Blackhawks retained half of Kane’s salary and traded him to a third-party team well below the salary cap like the Arizona Coyotes, the Coyotes could theoretically retain more of Kane’s salary before trading him to Edmonton.

This way the Blackhawks could retain 50% of Kane’s cap hit, and the other team would retain another 25%, leaving the Oilers with an affordable $2.65m cap hit remaining on Kane.

The Blackhawks already paid Patrick Kane’s $4m signing bonus in July, leaving his remaining income at just $2.9m. With this in mind, it would only require the third-party team (Arizona) to take on 725k of Kane’s salary and a $2.65m cap hit at maximum to help facilitate this trade.

Bob Stauffer said that he believes a package for Patrick Kane would include either Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele along with a first-round pick and a couple of mid-level prospects. Here is a mock-up I could see being realistic based on the reported cost:

Overall, the Oilers would be giving up two prospects, and a first and mid-round draft pick, to swap out Puljujarvi or Foegele for Patrick Kane.

It’s definitely the type of “win now” move that would make the Oilers better in the immediate present, which is necessary for a team that is in their championship window during McDavid and Draisaitl’s prime.

I think everyone would love to see McDavid, Draisaitl, and Patrick Kane on the same team, it would be so much fun to watch all of that star power night in and night out.

It’s great from a marketing perspective but with that being said, I have to admit there are much better uses of those assets for Edmonton than acquiring an offensive winger if their goal is to put together the best possible team.

The Oilers were the second highest scoring team in the 2022 Playoffs, so I don’t think putting the puck in the net will be an area of concern for them next year.

On the flip side, Edmonton was 16th in the NHL in goals against last season, and while they did manage to tighten things up a little bit after their mid-season coaching change, I don’t think there is any doubt that defense is their biggest weakness as a team.

The Oilers should be more than willing to trade their first-round pick and their prospects while they have one of the best teams in the Western Conference, but from a roster construction standpoint, it makes far more sense to shore up their remaining areas of weakness before trying to add more offense.

I like Darnell Nurse and Brett Kulak on the left side but Philip Broberg is an unproven rookie that may or may not be ready to handle the responsibility of playing meaningful minutes on a championship team.

If I were in Ken Holland’s position I would focus my efforts on adding an established top-four defenseman with a track record of solid defensive play. With this type of acquisition, the Oilers would have a defense core that is more proven and stylistically diverse.

For example, the Oilers could have Nurse paired with Ceci, their new shutdown player paired with Evan Bouchard, and Kulak paired with Barrie to reunite the solid depth duo from the 2022 postseason. Each of these theoretical pairings contains an offensive and defensive player, balancing out the group at all times.

This is just one of the many things the Oilers could do to their defense to give them an extra bump, but regardless of how they approach it, I think it is a more worthwhile investment for this team than adding Kane.

Ken Holland will absolutely be making some upgrades to this roster, but if he is going to go big and sell the farm to take a run at the Cup, he must choose wisely how he uses those assets.

Will he give McDavid another shiny new toy up front in Patrick Kane? Or will he plug up the holes on defense that are more likely to be Edmonton’s undoing next spring? Time will tell.