Perhaps Patrick Kane is no longer fit for the Rangers trade deadline

Approaching the 13-game March 3 trade deadline, three weeks and four days later Rangers resume schedule Monday should address the shortcomings exposed and the lessons learned in last year’s defeat to Tampa Bay in the Conference Finals.

When GM Chris Drury reviews those last four games in which the Blues scored one goal on five-on-five, he’ll be reminded that his team won’t be able to hit the net or win their fair share of 50-50 battles that are almost always decisive when push comes to shove, as It inevitably happens in the tournament.

Does Patrick Kane look like the person who would solve this two-sided problem?

I first brought up the possibility of dealing with the Chicago winger in December 2021. Given Kane’s history with Artemi Panarin in his first two league seasons in Chicago, it seemed natural. But that was when Kane was available for a full season. It was also when Panarin and Simpatico center Ryan Strom were buzzing and Kane’s addition was as smooth as can be.

However, a year later, Kane became a one-and-done agent as a suspended unrestricted free agent. A year later, Kane, 34, is having a bad year in a frustrating situation, despite having a slight overproduction in his last twelve games. A year later, Panarin is trying to fit left with Mika Zibanejad after getting into all kinds of trouble with Vincent Troschek.

Larry Brooks of The Post writes that Patrick Kane may not be right for Rangers right now.
Larry Brooks of The Post writes that Patrick Kane may not be right for Rangers right now.
USA Today Sports

Will Zibanejad be able to adapt to learning how to play Ken as well, while still learning how to play Panarine? Or will the belated attempt to build a super line create too many obstacles and distractions?

And if the Rangers are able to strike a deal for Kane at a maximum commitment of $5.25 million that’s a 50% cut, will that be all they can do? Will Drury leave assets to trade and space reserved for other add-ons?

Broadway is all about the names above the marquee. Three-time Trophy winner with Hart Trophy, Conn Smith’s 52 goals in the playoffs and 439 in the regular season, Caine qualified for the Bills. But is it the missing link? Before you answer this question, what is its location in the first power driver unit?

Rangers General Manager Chris Drury
Rangers General Manager Chris Drury
Charles Winzelberg / New York Po

Will Kane’s presence make the Rangers more powerful in the trenches? Would it make them a more physically difficult opponent to play against? These are very relevant questions.

Another is this: After 16 seasons in Chicago with the only organization he’s ever joined, will the 20-game post-deadline roster give Kane enough time to adjust to his whole new hockey life? Remember, when Marty St. Louis came to the Rangers after almost a lifetime in Tampa Bay, he scored one goal in 19 games.

According to the good folks at CapFriendly, if the Rangers keep their current roster, they’ll first have enough room to get Kane at 50 percent on February 19th. A deal that day will give the winger and the team six more games – 26 in all – that must combine before the playoffs.

This is definitely not a slam dunk move. The Rangers are in no position to be one piece away from it that would justify sending an expensive pony the other way. But the concept remains elusive. And it will last as long as Kane – who has a no-move clause that would allow him to be traded to New York provided the Rangers don’t get excited about getting him – is available.

The Blues' right winger Vladimir Tarasenko could be a potential target for the Rangers at the trade deadline.
The Blues’ right winger Vladimir Tarasenko could be a potential target for the Rangers at the trade deadline.
NHLI via Getty Images

Vladimir Tarasenko is certainly a potential target in the rental market as a top six player while pending unrestricted agents Tyler Bertuzzi, Tyler Mott, Ivan Barbashev and Nick Beogstad make interesting loan options for the bottom six. I wonder if Milan Lucic, if available and on an expired contract, has what it takes to be a dangerous fourth-line agitator?

But the man I’d target, before any of those options, is Nashville’s 25-year-old physical winger, Tanner Ginot, a suspended free agent who’s coming up with arbitration rights from an expiring $800,000 AAV contract.

The Rangers cap next season makes it very difficult to trade anyone with term on their contract, but this is an exception worth making. Jano is tough, he can play, he’s a direct forward marker and net driver, and he’ll instantly make the Rangers a stronger playoff opponent.

Jeannot may not be readily available, but as the sixth-place finisher with 13 points (5-8) in 48 games after 41 points (24-17) 2021-22, there should be a price tag for him. How about Vitaly Kravtsov in a one-on-one style exchange of styles? I imagine GNU as part of the kernel. I can’t imagine it with Kravtsov. I see this as an interesting conversation.

This will mark a step in addressing the shortcomings of last year’s playoffs. This is all about this year’s deadline.

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