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Blackhawks Draft Deals Feel Like an Attempt To Kick Kane Out the Door

Did the two trades the Blackhawks make this week give Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews enough incentive to ask out?

The Chicago Blackhawks are never going to tell Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews that the only organization either player has suited up for wants them to leave. A franchise that made waves this weekend with multiple trades has made it clear that the only three players on the roster who weren’t available were Kane, Toews and Seth Jones, all because they have no-trade or no-move clauses. That doesn’t mean the deals that saw Alex DeBrincat leave for an underwhelming return, or a move that saw Kirby Dach go to Montreal weren’t a hint those veteran players should reconsider their stances on sticking around.

GM Kyle Davidson said to the media after his two trades — which took place just a couple of months after he traded Brandon Hagel — there’s value in having Kane and Toews remain with the Blackhawks, but that they have to be committed to the process of a rebuild. He added that he believes they are committed, saying, to this point, we haven’t heard otherwise.” One has to wonder if the tune will change from the Kane and Toews camps after seeing what’s left on this roster.

Kirby Dach, Patrick Kane, Alex DeBrincat

In fact, that might have been one of the items on Davidson’s to-do list — get those two thinking it’s time to ask out. If you leave the draft with little on the current roster and the players making the biggest money know their final season will be one of constant frustration, you kickstart the conversation on their departure. That’s 100% what Davidson wants based on his actions this week.

Davidson calling the rebuild “real now” is completely accurate. That he noted it feels different to talk about tearing things down than to see how it hurts when you undertake the process, Kane may look at this newly depleted roster — one that will also see Dylan Strome walk out the door on July 13 — and say to himself, ‘What am I still doing here?’ Perhaps Davidson is hoping Toews says the same and asks for a trade since it’s hard to lead a team that won’t be competitive and no one expects them to be.

After all, having Kane and Toews’ contracts (totaling $21 million) on the team hurts this organization now. Sure, their mentorship of young players is good, but the money being paid to them is better spent in a myriad of ways and, right now, the Blackhawks can’t do anything but write them checks. This mentorship also only goes so far as neither player will be retained after this season ends and how much impact can you have on prospects that won’t be around this team for at least two or three more seasons?

The Blackhawks are going to stink next season. There’s really no sugarcoating that. The question is, do they look like such a lousy team that the two highest-paid players say it’s time to move on? If so, Davidson can make them available, get them to waive their trade restrictions and pick up prospects or future draft picks in the process. The sooner they decide they want out, the sooner he can get back to work.

It’s an incredibly awful plan if you’re a Blackhawks fan, but it’s the direction this team has chosen to go: scorched earth. The franchise might as well embrace it and the players who aren’t going to be on this roster when the dust settles should probably let the organization know it’s ok to start asking around about a deal.

Next: Wild GM Bill Guerin Absolutely Blasts Talbot’s Agent for Comments



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