It’s hard to believe that in 2012 some fans were calling for Patrick Kane to be traded. He’d scored only one goal in a six-game first round exit for the Chicago Blackhawks against the Phoenix Coyotes, and his party-boy reputation was landing him on the wrong websites.
One year, a stint in Switzerland and a Conn-Smythe trophy win later, and the naysayers are eating their words.
Yes, Kane has been criticized for his behavior and his play wasn’t the best in 2012, but ever since then he’s once again shown why he’s a top talent in the NHL. He’s currently in the middle of a 12-game points streak with 15 goals, the third most in the league, and a grand total of 28 points. It wasn’t even that long ago that a scouting report said Kane would past first, shoot later. Now, he’s making plays for himself and taking the shots.
Just recently, Kane helped the Blackhawks come back from a 2-0 deficit against the Calgary Flames, scoring two goals in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 win and pushing his current points streak to a career-high 12 games.
Part of the reason Kane struggled in 2012 may have been because he was playing second-line center (an issue that’s been dogging the Blackhawks for some time). Since then he’s been back to his natural right wing position, and that may have been a big reason why he’s been on a hot streak since.
There’s also the fact that he was reunited with best bud and Blackhawks team captain Jonathan Toews on the same line during the playoffs. You cannot doubt the dynamic duo these two can be. This season he’s worked well with youngster Brandon Pirri.
“Kaner’s got high-end skill,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville told the media back in June during the Stanley Cup Finals. “He’s dangerous with the puck. His anticipation without it offensively is high-end. I think reading off those guys in the offensive zone has been very effective for him. Guys that have that kind of innate skill of scoring and being a top player, they anticipate like the rest of us would like to.”
It’s not luck — okay, maybe it is a little bit of luck, but you need some, anyhow — that’s helped Kane, dare I say, mature. He’s certainly stayed out of the gossip mill lately. He spent much of his time in Switzerland living with his mom, so I guess we have her to thank for helping him calm down.
But Kane’s always been a high-end talent. He’s just entering the prime of his career at only 25 years old. He’s got plenty of talent and is one of the top scorers in the league, maybe even up there with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. It’s certainly possible that Blackhawks fans can take his skill for granted. But Kane is truly a once-in-a-generation talent, and now that he’s maturing his future is bright.