Arizona’s second trade of the deadline has happened. This time they entered the Patrick Kane sweepstakes. However, it was in the role of facilitator, not as a buyer or seller. Per Dan Rosen of the NHL website, Patrick Kane will be joining the Rangers. In return, the Blackhawks get a second-round pick in the 2023 draft, a fourth-round pick in the 2025 draft, and an AHL defenseman in Andy Welinski.
So where do the Coyotes come in? Well due to salary cap constraints a third team was needed to facilitate the deal. The Coyotes will pick up 25% of Patrick Kane’s salary cap hit and in return, they received a conditional third-round pick in 2025. The last remaining details of the trade to be announced were that the Rangers received a prospect, Cooper Zech, and the Coyotes send Vili Saarijarvi to the Blackhawks.
Arizona Coyotes fans may ask, who is Vili Saarijarvi? He is a “prospect” in the loosest definition of the term. A 25-year-old defenseman from Finland, he was drafted in the third round of 2015 by the Detroit Red Wings. In the 2019-2020 season, he was sent to the Coyotes and finished that year in Tucson. Since then, he has returned to playing overseas. Grades and analysis for each team are below:
Chicago Blackhawks: C
The end of an era has officially come to Chicago. Prior to selecting Kane as the number one pick in 2007, the Blackhawks had two winning seasons since the 1995-1996 season. Their captain was the selection that changed the franchise, and with the core built around him, Chicago won three Stanley Cups. Getting a second-round pick, a fourth-round pick, a 29-year-old AHL defenseman, and a “prospect” more than likely to never come back from overseas seems light for the face of your franchise. Plus, they are still retaining 50% of Kane’s cap hit. Is Kane on the back end of his career? Yes. But this move seems a few seasons too late and the return for him reflects that.
New York Rangers: B+
The Rangers are all-in on the Stanley Cup this season. Multiple trades so far reflect their willingness to win right now. In return for giving up multiple draft picks they receive a three-time Cup winner, a Calder Trophy winner (Rookie of the Year), a Hart Trophy winner (MVP), Conn Smythe Trophy winner (Playoff MVP), Ted Lindsay Award winner (NHLPA Most Outstanding Player), and an Art Ross Trophy winner (Leading Scorer). Again, is Kane on the back end of his career? Yes. But pairing him with the talent already on the roster and the players brought in through recent trades vaults the Rangers into serious contender status.
Arizona Coyotes: A
This was an easy homerun by the Coyotes. Like batting practice easy. They are rewarded with an early-round conditional pick for picking up 25% of the tab for Kane’s cap hit. They “gave up” an overseas player who wouldn’t play a minute on the ice for the NHL squad as well. This is how a team in rebuild mode does it the right way. Shrewd deals that don’t impact the core unless it’s an outstanding offer. They keep loading up on picks without losing talent at the NHL level. They can continue dealing if they so choose (Chychrun, Ghost, Vejmelka, Bjugstad), or they can keep their core and be satisfied knowing they’ve scored two additional picks for virtually nothing this season.