Patrick Kane's season -- and this Blackhawks slump -- has given fans, hosts, bloggers and analysts reason to throw his name out there as one big, fat piece of trade bait as the Feb. 27 deadline approaches.
But folks, despite a call by many that the organization needs to make a blockbuster move, it's not going to happen this season.
It's ironic that we haven't seen nearly as many pictures or rumors or innuendo about Kane off the ice this season, yet he's having the toughest season of his young career. He's been a team player this year more than any and hasn't gotten the rewards. The performance leads to more calls, and more finger-pointing, and certainly Kane's year has put his value under the microscope.
Jeremy Roenick's opinion that the Hawks might look into what they could get in return comes as a result of what he's put up -- or hasn't put up -- statistically compared to what some of the other "core" guys have done this season.
Kane's status as a face of the franchise and cornerstone for the future has not changed. Moving him would obviously involve a long, hard look at what he's capable of doing for another 15 years, the quality of what you get in return, how much of a long-term need whatever would come in return fills, and how they replace him in the lineup.
The wise-crackers this year would say he's easy to replace based on his stats. Another factor involves salaries coming and going. And, of course, the popular rumor -- a couple of years running now -- is sending Kane to his hometown for Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.
There are other scenarios by all of us amateur GMs: Tim Thomas, Jonathan Bernier, Cam Ward. But your slam-dunk, No. 1, what-will-we-do-if-Corey-Crawford-gets-away-in-free-agency Fan Club of a year ago was served and the man with two more years left on his contract becomes...a backup? Traded to someone else? Providing what in return? There are many facets to this.
Right now, based on the lack of sellers and teams still feeling they're in the playoff race, the opinion here is Feb. 27 will have very few -- if any -- blockbusters throughout the NHL. The Blackhawks could've helped their trade deadline cause during this losing streak by beating the likes of Calgary, Colorado and Phoenix and get them thinking more as sellers than buyers.
It's not impossible, just don't hold your breath for those anxious to ship the guy who scored your Stanley Cup-clinching goal out of town for the sake of doing something and immediate gratification. Stan Bowman's not in line with J.R.'s thinking. Of course, he'd always listen. Just don't believe Kane will be aggressively shopped.
As I said on Chicago Tribune Live on Monday after our interview with Bowman, I just don't see any huge, imminent organizational earthquakes. But if this losing streak stretches to 12, 13, and beyond -- of course the folks in charge can change their minds with continued misery.
And as I also said on CTL that day: if this group doesn't regroup soon and misses the playoffs in a season of such huge expectations because of a massive collapse, everything gets re-evaluated. Upstairs, behind the bench and on the ice -- Kane and everyone else in uniform included.