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NHL Rumour Roundup: What does Tarasenko trade mean for Patrick Kane?

The New York Rangers were expected to be a big player at this year’s trade deadline, and they came through on Thursday by acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola from the St. Louis Blues. Three weeks out from the March 3 NHL trade deadline, another big name has been crossed off trade lists, and the Rangers can likely be removed as a possible landing spot for some of the other stars they were connected to.

While the Tarasenko trade sets the Rangers up for a run and returned St. Louis a first-round pick plus, it will also have a ripple effect on the market and could impact the Chicago Blackhawks. Patrick Kane was a target of New York’s and may have been a team he’d waive his no-move clause for, but that possibility is probably off the table now.

“I think the Rangers really intrigued Kane. I think what now the question is going to be is where else intrigues him?” asked Elliotte Friedman on Friday’s 32 Thoughts Podcast. “I think they were a team that was high up on his list. I don’t want to say the only team on his list, but very high up on his list.”

Kane spoke to the media Friday and confirmed the Rangers were a team he had been taking notice of.

“It’s not like the happiest I’ve been to hear about a trade,” Kane said. “I think the Rangers are a team that you definitely pay attention to and definitely are intrigued by, for obvious reasons.”

One of the league’s best offensive players throughout his career, Kane is not having the same impact in 2022-23, with nine goals and 35 points in 46 games. He missed a few games in January with a lower-body injury and, as Friedman wrote in his thoughts column this week, players were praising him at all-star weekend for “playing through something that clearly is bothering him.”

That injury could also affect which teams are interested in him, and how much they’re willing to give up for Kane as a rental.

“There is concern how he’s going to be able to hold up,” Friedman said. “Nobody questions his heart and playing through this, but now it becomes ‘if we want to win four rounds is that going to be a problem at all?’ “

Kane still hasn’t made a decision on whether to waive his no-move clause, which Friedman noted could still be about a week and a half away.

The Blackhawks are also looking to move Jonathan Toews who, like Kane, is in the last year of a $10.5 million contract with a full no-movement clause. His cost of acquisition was always going to be lower than Kane’s, but recent developments may also complicate Toews’ availability.

Chicago’s captain missed their first game back from the all-star break with a non-COVID illness, and hasn’t returned to practice with the team yet. Now he’s expected to miss both games over the weekend.


With Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander at the top of the lineup, a top 10 offence and top six power play, at first glance Toronto’s primary need at the trade deadline would seem to be defence. It’s an area they’ve addressed at past deadlines and, with Jake Muzzin out for possibly the rest of the regular season at least, there’s even an opening on the depth chart.

But a couple weeks ago our own Justin Bourne had an excellent breakdown on why the Leafs may in fact need another scoring winger a little bit more.

The team may be coming around to that conclusion as well.

“I really do believe Toronto is looking at forwards,” Friedman said. “I think they’re trying to find another forward out there who can make a difference. The thing I’m wondering is how high can [Dubas] go on a forward and I think that’s what they’re trying to figure out, too.”

Leafs GM Kyle Dubas spoke to the media on Thursday and touched on how he plans to approach this year’s trade deadline. He noted the team would look to improve up front and on the blue line, but that their targets may not be the biggest names.

And while he did pour cold water on the idea of trading a first-round pick or top prospect Matthew Knies for a rental player, Dubas still seemed to keep the door open to a bigger move.

“With regards to other options, I don’t think you say no off the hop to anything,” Dubas said. “But those are very important pieces to us now and in the future.”


With Horvat and Tarasenko off the board the trade market is off and running, and there’s some wonder if the Sharks may get a jump on the deadline by moving their top trade chip early as well.

All eyes are in Timo Meier these days, and the New Jersey Devils figure to play a role in how this unfolds.

“The arms race in the metro New York area, Islanders grab Horvat, Rangers grab Tarasenko, Mikkola, everyone’s looking at what the Devils are going to do,” Friedman said. “I do think the Devils have said to the Sharks ‘before you do anything on Meier make sure we get a final shot on this.’ “

The most interesting wrinkle in Meier’s case is his contract. When it expires this summer, he’s an RFA due a $10 million qualifying offer he’ll play under for a season, unless a contract extension is worked out. That means he’s not really a “rental” as there’s some team control past this season, but he’s due a hefty pay day regardless.

With that in mind, some teams may be looking at trading for Meier as a long-term fit, and others might still view him as a rental they can either flip later, or at least as someone they can acquire now and make a decision on what to do with in the summer.

“There seems to be a feeling out there if what he considers a legit contender wants to sign him long-term then he is prepared to be reasonable,” Friedman said. “It’s not going to be inexpensive, but it’s not going to be eleventy billion dollars.”

Two Canadian teams could get involved here.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one team connected to Meier in rumours, if they choose to swing big on a forward instead of focusing on the blue line first.

“One guy said to me there are teams out there who think Toronto at the very least has considered ‘do we go get Meier for this run and then sort it out later?’ Basically punt the decision to the summer and say ‘alright we bring him in, see how it goes, see who has a good playoff and who doesn’t, and figure it out in June,” Friedman said. “If you trade for Meier it doesn’t mean he’s a rental, but I think in Toronto it doesn’t mean he’s a long-term guy either.

“The only way I think you consider that if you’re Toronto is that at the very least if you can’t keep him you’re flipping him for what you traded.”

The other team some wonder about are the Winnipeg Jets, challenging for top spot in the Central Division and eighth in the league overall by points percentage.

A year after it looked like the bottom had fallen out of this team, head coach Rick Bowness has found a way to bring them back to contender status. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has made some big trades in his time, but usually only when forced into a spot, and when he’s getting controllable contracts in return.

Acquiring Meier at the deadline might be out of character for Cheveldayoff, but the door of opportunity is wide open in the West.

“Cheveldayoff was down in Tampa for Tampa-San Jose [Tuesday]. I think we all assume he was there to watch Meier,” Friedman said. “You’re giving up big assets and the Jets don’t like to do that unless they have certainty. They want to know they have players who are locked in for a while. They wouldn’t have that with Meier, it wouldn’t fit their historical profile, but boy would that be a ballsy move.”


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