Patrick Kane Linked to Red Wings, Leafs and Sabre
As the NHL’s games in Sweden continue this week, there’s increased speculation as to the conclusion of the Patrick Kane sweepstakes. And at least one player agent believes that Kane’s most likely destination is in a team close to home.
The agent, who spoke to THN.com this week under condition of anonymity, is watching the Kane unrestricted free agency process play out. And from his perspective, there are three teams that are currently factoring in as the finalists for Kane’s services. The veteran winger, who will turn 35 on Sunday, is taking his time figuring out which team is the best fit for him, but our anonymous agent sees teams in the northeast part of the U.S., and in the southeastern part of Canada – namely, the Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Watch those teams,” the agent said of the Wings, Leafs and Sabres when it comes to Kane. “He wants to be closer to home. And those teams could use more top-six (forward) help…that’s what Kane wants – he wants to be needed.”
Indeed, when you examine the top-six forward groups for Toronto, Buffalo and Detroit, you see opportunities for a player like Kane.
The Leafs are using rookie Matthew Knies on their top line, but if Kane signed with Toronto, he’d be slotted in on Line 1, and Knies would be bumped down to the third line, which might make more sense for Knies at this early stage of his NHL career. The Leafs also are within close proximity to Kane’s Buffalo home, and don’t think that doesn’t make a difference for a player like him. A 90-minute drive from Buffalo would allow Kane’s family to visit him often, and he’d be joining a Leafs squad that big things are expected of.
Meanwhile, playing for the Sabres would give Kane’s family even more access to him. Buffalo is currently dealing with the absence of star center Tage Thompson, who is sidelined for the next month with a wrist injury. Kane probably wouldn’t play on the top line – veterans Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch have those first-line minutes locked up – but he’d almost assuredly be on the Sabres’ second line. That would give Kane about 16 to 17 minutes of ice time per game, and at this point in his career, that might be the ideal amount of minutes for him.