Is Patrick Kane Elite for Chicago Blackhawks?

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

When the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Patrick Kane scored the game winning goal (despite it taking fans a few seconds to notice). Pictures of Kane around town began to surface and his reputation as a partier became legendary. Questions about his maturity and ability to handle success at an early age came to light.

But the biggest concern came with his production. During the Stanley Cup run of 2010, Kane scored 88 points. The following season (in 15 less games), he scored 73 points. Last season, he 66 points. Fans began to wonder if Kane fizzled and partied his way out of Chicago. However, it should be noted that the Blackhawks roster turned over and several key players were lost due to salary cap restrictions.

During this season’s lockout, Kane played overseas in Switzerland and this potentially made a difference in his maturity (granted, his mother stayed with him and kept him in line). Upon returning after the lockout ended, Kane is playing the best hockey of his career. Through 14 games, he has 21 points and is becoming of the league’s most feared scorers. But his play goes beyond the scoresheet. He’s beginning to play like a veteran. Instead of the immature mistakes that have plagued him throughout his career, he’s playing with a purpose. For those that wanted to trade Kane last season certainly recognize how crucial he is to this organization.

The Blackhawks proved their commitment to Kane with a large contract back in 2010. His five-year $31.5 million deal was announced along with teammates Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. The Blackhawks identified these three along with Marian Hossa as the core of the franchise. Quite frankly, the Hawks owe it to themselves to stick with this group. It already produced one Stanley Cup and the 2013 version of this team has the best record in the NHL. Kane’s newfound maturity is a huge reason for this, and the sky is the limit with this talented skater.

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