Speculation continues to swirl surrounding the future of Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. When GM Kyle Davidson stepped into his role with Chicago, he began to make decisions that made the Blackhawks' veteran players question the future of the organization. One of those decisions was trading 23-year-old forward Brandon Hagel to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blackhawks have since full-on embraced the rebuild, which has led to the speculation that Kane and Toews could be on the move from the only place they've called home. As one NHL insider points out, NY Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has a pre-existing relationship with Kane and wonders if that could help lure the star-winger to the Isles.
On the latest episode of the Cam and Strick Podcast, Andy Strickland went on the record to note that he knows the Islanders GM and Kane have a relationship:
"The New York Islanders. People say 'the Islanders, man, all they did was take care of their own business in-house this offseason.' They didn't go out and get anybody, people questioning Lou, all of that. But, I hear that (Kane) and Lou kind of have a relationship that goes back to all those times spent together with USA Hockey. Olympics, World Championships, World Cups, all that type of stuff, Cam. So, we've heard that from all the big dogs that played in the '90s, just from having that one experience, maybe two experiences around Lou, that relationship they have with him forever, all those guys speak so highly of Lou. So could Lou convince him to come to the New York Islanders?"- Andy Strickland
Before you go and get all excited, Frank Seravalli reported that Kane isn't interested in being traded before the season starts, but would rather wait for the trade deadline. There were rumors that began to heat up recently that the Edmonton Oilers were in pursuit, but that chatter has become quieter. Alternatively, there's the belief that because Kane has a say in his future due to a no-trade clause that he has to waive, he'd like to go home to Buffalo and play for the Sabres or to the New York Rangers to play with Artemi Panarin again.
Strickland has a point regarding those relationships between Lamoriello and his players at the World Tournaments. After playing under Lamoriello in the 1998 Olympics, Lamoriello was able to lure Jamie Langenbrunner to the New Jersey Devils in a trade and then signed him long-term. Langenbrunner eventually became the captain in New Jersey from 2007-2011. Lamoriello was also able to lure John Vanbiesbrouck, although in a much lesser role.
As Strickland also pointed out, after Alexander Romanov and some in-house maintenance, the Islanders didn't do much else to improve their roster. Lamoriello stated he likes this roster and isn't disappointed with how this summer has gone. One thing we have seen Lamoriello accomplish, however, is landing a player at the trade deadline which lines up with when Kane said he may be ready to talk about being traded.
There's no doubt that Kane would absolutely upgrade the Islanders' offense. Last season, the 'Hawks were a bottom-of-the-league team with a .415 points percentage finishing 27th overall in the NHL. Yet Kane found a way to still score 26 goals and 96 points. The Islanders expect to be back in the playoff race and with the improved defense and elite goaltending tandem, it's not unrealistic to think that they'll be in the thick of it come the 2023 trade deadline. If the Islanders can in fact acquire Kane, pairing him with Mathew Barzal would finally give them the talent to surround their star center, making for one of the most dynamic duos in the NHL. Barzal and Kane play similar styles but placing a finisher on a line with the two would give the Islanders plenty of opportunities to score, and it's not like Kane doesn't like to shoot the puck himself with five 30-plus goal seasons, two in which he scored more than 40.
As stated earlier, don't get yourself too excited, at this point it's just a mere thought. However, if/when the Islanders are in the playoff race by the upcoming seasons trade deadline, this surely could be a storyline to watch out for.