All eyes in Chicago this season have been on Chicago Blackhawks' veterans Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and it's not due to their on-ice play. It's due to their off-ice availability on the trade market.
Both players are in the final season of long-term contracts and are slated to hit the open market as free agents this upcoming offseason, prompting many to believe that they will ultimately be traded ahead of the NHL's March trade deadline. After all, the Blackhawks aren't making the post-season this year, so they may as well get some assets in return for two pretty valuable players, right? Think again.
After months of reporting that the Blackhawks have been prepping for Kane and Toews trades, Blackhawks insiders Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers are now reporting that the Blackhawks are "preparing as if Kane and Toews won’t ask to be traded."
This is notable because Blackhawks' general manager Kyle Davidson has stated that he will not seek a trade for either player unless they explicitly ask for one.
The Blackhawks could stand to receive a couple of first round picks for Kane and/or Toews if they elect to move on, but that doesn't appear to be the case at this moment at least according to Lazerus and Power. Up until this point Kane has been rumored to be in trade talks with the likes of the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers and even his hometown Buffalo Sabres.
Honestly, I could see both of these two franchise icons playing out the season in Chicago and then making a decision on their futures in the offseason. Why rush such an important decision? They've both already accomplished everything there is to accomplish at the NHL level, so they've afforded themselves to be picky and choosy with their next opportunity. Personally, I could see them deciding to continue their careers together elsewhere. While they wouldn't quite be as red hot of a UFA package deal as say Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya were in their heyday, they will definitely draw interest from across the league. Who wouldn't want a combined six Stanley Cups added to their roster in the offseason?