Wild are One of Four Teams with Confirmed Interest in Patrick Kane

Photo: Derek Leung - Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild need to make serious additions to their lineup before the trade deadline expires on March 3 if they are going to make the playoff field come mid-April, let alone a run that lasts into late May, possibly even June.

Making those types of additions is difficult at any moment, let alone at a trade deadline with the type of salary cap restrictions the Wild are facing after this season. General manager, Bill Guerin, does have about $11.5 million burning a hole through his pocket, though. Cash that will disappear at the end of this season, whether he spends it on a rental or not.

Enter Patrick Kane

That’s where Patrick Kane’s trade market dots logically connect to the Wild. Minnesota needs a short-term answer offensively and Kane would provide that. But The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus has gone a step further, listing the Wild as one of four teams with “confirmed interest” in Kane’s services for the rest of this season.

There are several teams for which Kane could make sense, but that doesn’t always mean there’s real interest there. Four teams with confirmed interest are CarolinaDallasMinnesota and Vegas. The question is, of course, is Kane willing to go to any of those teams?

Mark Lazerus – The Athletic

At 34-years-old, Patrick Kane is on a current pace this season that would set career lows in points and assists (excluding 2012-13 when he only played 47 games). Let’s not forget, however, that he posted 92 points (26 goals, 66 assists) just one season ago and there’s no doubt the disfunction in Chicago paired with his clouded future has been weighing on him.

Kaprizov — Kane — Zuccarello

Could dropping Kane into the middle of a roster that has Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello on the first line fix him? Would he unlock Matt Boldy much like Kevin Fiala did last season? If so, he might be the immediate jolt the Wild need on offense. Kane has a no-trade clause so he’d have to okay a trade to the Wild but he’d be hard pressed to find a landing spot with better talent around him than in Minnesota.

For Guerin, the question always comes down to price. He’s always hesitant to move 1st round draft picks or top prospects in exchange for rental players. But in Kane’s case, the Wild could be uniquely positioned to make a deal.

Kane’s asking price will come down significantly, compared to the immediate value he would likely bring, because he is only under contract for one more season. For many teams, his expiring deal will scare them away. For Minnesota, that’s the exact type of short-term, high impact trade target they’re on the prowl for.

Juice worth the squeeze?

I cannot see Guerin moving a 1st round pick for a half season of Patrick Kane. But what if he agrees to eat more salary — Blackhawks reportedly expect to cover half of Kane’s $10.5M AAV this season — and offers, say, Marco Rossi, Jordan Greenway (or Matt Dumba?) and whatever mid to late round draft filler gets the deal done for either side after that?

If Guerin is losing confidence in Rossi’s future, after his failed first stint in the NHL, he could be the perfect prospect to dangle in front of the Blackhawks and an easy way to unload an unruly and unreliable Jordan Greenway or expiring Matt Dumba.

The Minnesota Wild are at a crossroad. They are not good enough to compete as a playoff team as currently constructed. Patrick Kane could represent a rare opportunity for them to rise to the top of the Western Conference with one rental transaction.

But would the juice be worth the squeeze? Because these oranges don’t last long and they aren’t cheap.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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