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Is Patrick Kane The X-Factor For The Chicago Blackhawks?

Patrick Kane really has taken a beating from fans this summer, after another series of adventures involving alcohol has left many wondering if he should have a future with the Chicago Blackhawks.

But despite the best efforts from media and fans alike to draw up some trade rumors, Patrick Kane is still a member of the Blackhawks and will likely remain one into the foreseeable future.

You know a guy is a premium talent when Patrick Kane’s 2011-2012 season is labeled as big of a disappointment as it was. His 66 points just didn’t quite get the job done for a guy that we had hoped would have had a 40-goal or 90-point seas, or both, at this point in his career.

Adjusting to a new position didn’t help, as Kane was bounced between his natural position on the wing to center, where the Hawks lacked (and still do) a legitimate option on the second line. His transition to center was under the microscope all year, and he didn’t perform as bad as many may have expected, though the concerns over his defense and faceoff ability were proven to be valid.

Heading into the new season, Patrick Kane is as important a piece as any to this Blackhawks team. In fact, the season may hinge on what type of year he turns in in 2012-2013.

You know the other big names on this team are going to come to play. Jonathan Toews could finally be in for his Hart Trophy season and Patrick Sharp has been as steady a player as there is in the NHL the past couple of seasons. If Marian Hossa is healthy and ready to go, the hope is that he can play near the same terrific level he was at last season.

But if Patrick Kane spends another season struggling to find the net and doing way too much with the puck, it’s going to hurt this Blackhawks team. Less scoring from the core puts more pressure on everyone else, and the Hawks simply don’t have the amount of secondary scoring that they need to make up for Kane’s inconsistency.

Here’s hoping Patrick Kane can take this brutal summer and turn it into something big. His last two offseasons haven’t been complete, with the Stanley Cup win and then the wrist injury last year. But he’s had a full summer to recover this offseason, and will need to spin it into the season we’ve been expecting from him if the Chicago Blackhawks are going to go anywhere in ’12-’13.