The Chicago Blackhawks' dreadful start has raised questions about general manager Stan Bowman's off-season moves and put head coach Jeremy Colliton on the hot seat. It's also prompted the New York Post's Larry Brooks to ponder the futures of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Brooks wondered how long it'll take before Kane and Toews surface in the rumor mill before the March 21 trade deadline. The duo is signed through 2022-23 with identical $10.5 million salary-cap hits and full no-movement clauses.
It seems premature, even absurd to pose that question. The Blackhawks have plenty of time to turn things around this season and there's no reason to assume they'd move their two franchise players.
Nevertheless, trading Kane and/or Toews might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. The Blackhawks have shipped out core players in the recent past. They dealt Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers this summer. Brent Seabrook popped up in trade chatter before injuries ended his playing days.
Kane and Toews are in their mid-thirties but remain well-regarded stars who would draw considerable interest in the trade market. One or both could be approached by management about whether they want to be moved to a contender. Perhaps they reach that conclusion on their own.
Assuming that happens, they're unlikely to be traded during this season. Their respective cap hits are difficult to move with Cap Friendly showing most NHL clubs carrying less than $10 million in cap space. Their no-move clauses significantly reduce the number of potential trade destinations.
Players of their stature tend to get traded during the off-season. That's when teams have more salary-cap space and a willingness to swing big deals for star players.