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Can Potential Stanley Cup Contenders Afford Patrick Kane?

There continues to be speculation on which potential Cup contenders are linked to Patrick Kane. However, the salary cap makes it much more difficult to acquire him.
Patrick Kane

Since the start of the season, there's not a week that goes by without some pundits weighing in on potential trade destinations for Chicago Blackhawks superstar Patrick Kane. With the 33-year-old winger eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July and the Blackhawks rebuilding, it's assumed he'll be moved by the March 3 trade deadline.

Previous speculation linked Kane to the New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins. Last week, Sportsnet's Jeff Marek and ESPN's Greg Wyshynski discussed the possibility of the Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights getting into the bidding should Kane become available.

Kane's willingness to waive his no-movement clause and what's bound to be a high asking price by the Blackhawks will be significant stumbling blocks on the road to a trade. The biggest, however, is his $10.5-million average annual value and the high number of teams that can't afford to absorb it.

As of Oct. 27, Cap Friendly indicated the Flames and Hurricanes each had over $6 million in projected trade deadline cap space. The Kings had $5.1 million, the Lightning $3.5 million and the Avalanche $1.4 million. The Rangers and Penguins each had less than $1 million while the Golden Knights had none.

That's assuming, of course, they don't end up using up any of their accrued space to address other roster needs.

None of these clubs can afford Kane's full cap hit. Even if they move one or two salaried players as part of the return, they could require the Blackhawks to retain up to half of it. Some might have to get creative and try to get a third team involved to spread that $10.5 million around. 

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