Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane is enjoying his best season in the NHL, and if not for the truncated season would be on pace to shatter his career-high of 88 points in a season established in 2009-2010.
Kane was shifted from wing to center for a long stretch last season and that move really hurt his offensive production on the ice last season as the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft finished with a career-low 66 points in 82 games.
Following an offseason full of off-the-ice transgressions and trade rumors, Kane is looking to be in the best condition of his six-year career and after playing in Europe during the lockout looks to be a step ahead of the competition through the first eight games of the year.
Through the Blackhawks first eight games, in which they are 6-0-2, Kane has three goals, eight assists and leads the team with 11 points. It was Kane’s goal in the opening period vs. the Los Angeles Kings that got the team rolling to a 6-0 start and the confidence Kane needed after a tumultuous last season.
Due to a 48-game season, there is no chance Kane sets career-highs in points, but the 5-11 180-pound play-maker is averaging 1.38 points per game heading into Saturday night’s game vs. the Calgary Flames. Over a full 82-game slate, that would project out to 112.75 points. Last year’s NHL point leader was Evgeni Malkin with 109 and the year before Daniel Sedin led with 104. That just puts into perspective the type of start that Kane is enjoying right now.
Skeptics will scoff at these projections and say he possibly can’t keep up this pace because of the condensed schedule and the wear and tear is sure to take its toll on the diminutive Kane, but I think youth is in his favor as he is in the prime of his career and his conditioning appears to be in fine form.
Along with the ever-steady Jonathan Toews, a healthy Marian Hossa, an evolving Corey Crawford in net and the best penalty killing unit in the league, the Blackhawks have the makings of a Stanley Cup favorite.
All the trade rumors from the past year surrounding Kane seem a bit foolish right about now.
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