Kane is entering the final season of his eight-year contract carrying a $10.5 million average annual value. The 33-year-old has called Chicago home for all of his 15 NHL seasons, racking up 430 goals and 1,180 points plus three Stanley Cup titles since the Blackhawks drafted him first overall in 2007.
However, Chicago has missed the playoffs four times in the past five seasons and is in rebuilding mode, leading to some speculation during the off-season that the team will move on from Kane.
The 2016 Hart and Art Ross Trophy winner spoke to the media Thursday during the opening day of training camp and shot down any trade talks.
“To be honest with you, there really hasn’t been like much discussion about anything, even with my agent or my agents or my family,” Kane said. “It’s not anything we’ve really discussed. I think we all know the situation. I play and what could potentially happen, but it’s not really something I’m thinking about as yet.
“We’ll just kind of see how everything plays out and hopefully, we can get off to a good start here, prove some people wrong.”
While he pointed to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins plus Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals as players who will likely spend their entire careers with one franchise, Kane acknowledged players like that are few and far between. Still, moving on isn’t something Kane said he’s thought about.
“Maybe it’s getting attention because of the situation that people might think we’re in as a team or because of our contracts,” Kane said. “It’s just a lot of noise right now.”
One player Chicago did ship out of town over the summer was Kane’s linemate Alex DeBrincat, who is coming off of a career-high 41-goal and 78-point season. The Blackhawks traded DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators during the NHL Draft in July for first- and second-round picks — which the Blackhawks used to select Kevin Korchinski and Paul Ludwinski, respectively — plus a third-round pick in 2024.
Kane admitted he was “disappointed” by the news and said he will miss playing with DeBrincat.
“It’s kind of crushing at first when you hear the news. Not only did I feel like we had some great chemistry on the ice, but he was one of my best friends and closest teammates off the ice as well,” Kane said. “It was tough. He’s a guy that’s going to develop into a great player, better than he already is. He’s in a good situation there in Ottawa. He’s going to play with some good players and put up numbers and do well, and it’ll be fun to watch him do that.
“But at the same time, you wish you were doing it with him because we had that chemistry, we had the friendship off the ice. He was at the point where he wasn’t scared to give it back to me or anything like that. We really pushed each other.”
A potential replacement for DeBrincat on Chicago’s top line could be Max Domi, who signed a one-year, $3 million contract during the opening day of free agency on July 13. The 27-year-old Domi is looking to return to his form from the 2018-19 season when he had a team-leading 72 points with the Montreal Canadiens, and he reunites with former Habs assistant Luke Richardson, who was hired as the Blackhawks’ new head coach on June 27.
“I know just from playing against him and talking to him, he’s very competitive and he wants to do well,” Kane said. “So, I feel like those are the kind of guys that I do well with, that want to do well every night. He’s had some great seasons in the league and he’s played with some good players, and I think he has that fire and energy that he wants to do well again. I’m excited to play with him.”