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Citizen Kane: The Watch Is On

November 19, 2023, 2:33 PM ET [10 Comments]
Matt Ross
Florida Panthers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Having recovered from a major hip injury/surgery, Patrick Kane seems poised for a come back and has begun meeting with teams in hopes of signing and returning to the NHL.

This is an exciting time for Panthers fans, as Emily Caplin of ESPN reports:

I believe Kane wanted to run it back with the New York Rangers -- especially since his post-trade deadline play was so frustrating for him, hampered by his hip. But it sounds like GM Chris Drury told him the team wouldn't be able to make it work with the cap (or the Rangers boss just wasn't willing to take the risk again, especially with how well the team is jelling with new coach Peter Laviolette). I've reported before on interest from the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars. Kane reportedly met with the Toronto Maple Leafs this week; he's been training in Toronto. Kane has a relationship with fellow American star Auston Matthews. Kane has previously talked about his desire to team up with Matthews at world competitions. Toronto would be a juicy fit, but the Leafs' top priority is shoring up the blue line. Other teams have told me they believe the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning are in the mix. It's hard for me to gauge how real the Carolina Hurricanes' interest is. The team I believe that has made the most aggressive pitch to Kane is the Florida Panthers. And here's what that pitch has included:

For years, the Panthers have been looking for a consistent linemate for Aleksander Barkov. Few players can match Barkov's on-ice intelligence; Kane can. If Kane is looking for a long-term deal -- which he might considering how unsettling it was for him to uproot his family during the last deadline after playing in Chicago his entire career -- the Panthers are set up to contend for the next few years. Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk are both locked in long term. Florida has become a destination for players, especially as they open a new practice facility on Dec. 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, where most of the players live.

The reason the Panthers are in the mix for Kane is because they've asserted themselves as a true contender. Many around the league figured Florida would have a drop off following its Cinderella Stanley Cup Final run -- especially since the team began the season without its two best defensemen, Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour, who both had summer shoulder surgeries. But the Panthers defensive metrics are strong. It took an adjustment period for the team to adapt to Paul Maurice's system. It's demanding, both mentally and physically. It requires awareness, sacrifice and grind. Maurice often uses the term: "Be hard men." Even if the Panthers are the more talented team, the players know they need to work to get the win. The results have spoken for themselves.”

I’ve said it before, but I think Kane coming to Florida would be awesome. I agree with Emily about his ability to slot in nicely on Barky’s line. The only adjustment I think would be that Barky would have to become more aggressive in terms of shooting. We know Barkov is a pass-first guy, with Kane on his line, Barkov would need to start shooting more. The reason I say this is because if 88 comes to Florida, the Cats will have a guy that can properly/consistently setup Barkov. Kane also has the scoring touch and will take those opportunities when they arise, so those two together could really be electric in my opinion.

And let’s not sleep on the fact that Kane has done a lot of growing up and maturing over the years. He is a guy with the winning pedigree of three cups and would be a good locker room asset for a team that needs veterans who have “been there, done that” when the playoff push comes around.

If the money/terms work, I say bring this guy in ASAP.

What do you guys think?

Go Panthers!
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