(Photo Credit: Danny Wild/USA-Today Sports)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis and Linktree

As the NHL regular season creeps toward Christmas, former Stanley Cup Champion and Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane inches closer and closer to his return. This morning on his 32 Thoughts Podcast (7:30), Elliotte Friedman stated that he has spoken to people who believe the Bruins have “poked around” on Patrick Kane. I’m here to tell you that Boston should stay as far away from Kane as possible.

On the surface, taking a flier on Kane makes sense for the Black and Gold. He’s been a consistent 25+ goal, 50+ assist winger for 16 years and has a winning pedigree that would entice any competing team. But Kane doesn’t make sense for this Bruins team when you factor in his recent injury/surgical history, his dip in production, and the baggage he brings.

Injury History

Following his short stint with the New York Rangers last season, Kane opted to undergo a Binghamton hip resurfacing procedure instead of classic hip replacement surgery to address a hip injury that ailed him for several seasons. According to the American Hip Institute, this procedure “involves removing the arthritic or damaged bone and cartilage from the head of the femur (thigh bone) and replacing it with a metal cap. The acetabulum (socket) damage is also replaced with a thin metal cup.” In addition to the general concerns about wear and tear that come with any 34-year-old skater, the recovery from this procedure mainly makes Kane’s situation so troubling.

In recent years, there have been three instances where high-profile NHL players have undergone hip resurfacing surgery well into their thirties. Former Anaheim Duck Ryan Kesler underwent the procedure on both hips, one in 2019 and the other in 2020. Kesler played his last NHL game in March of 2019. Former Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski had surgery in April 2013. He played in 37 games the following season and retired in 2015. Most recently, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom (also 34) was operated on in June 2022. Two weeks ago, Backstrom announced he’d be taking a leave of absence from the team, and there is some speculation he may be facing retirement.

The point in highlighting this anecdotal evidence is to indicate just how severely injured a player must be to undergo this procedure. There have been some success stories (tennis star Andy Murray successfully underwent the procedure and is still performing), but to expect a pre-injury Patrick Kane to waltz into TD Garden and slide into the top six is asinine at this point. After undergoing a life-changing procedure, the likelihood of Kane coming in and being productive isn’t high enough to merit a contract.

Dip in Production

Even before Kane underwent hip resurfacing surgery, his play had alarming trends. Following his trade to New York, Kane posted five goals, seven assists, and 12 points in 19 regular season games. He only had eight even strength points and was heavily criticized for the defensive holes in his game. When Kane was on the ice at five-on-five, the Rangers were outshot 138-123, out-chanced 155-108, and the team’s expected goals-for percentage was 43.22 percent. He can’t be classified as a flat-out liability for the 2022-23 Rangers, but he certainly wasn’t the injection of offense they expected him to be.

Kane was marginally better in the playoffs, posting one goal and five assists for six points in New York’s seven-game defeat at the hands of the New Jersey Devils. Three of those six points came on the powerplay, and he had no points in games four through seven of the series. At this point in his career, Patrick Kane is a powerplay specialist who provides little-to-no five-on-five offense, the one area where the Bruins need assistance. Using the little cap space the team has for a gadget player isn’t prudent.

Past Incidents

Patrick Kane has had no shortage of controversy in the past. Kane pled guilty to disorderly conduct in 2009 after physically assaulting a cab driver in Buffalo, NY. He was investigated for sexual assault in 2015, although the investigation never merited charges. These two incidents act as merely a prelude into perhaps Kane’s greatest sin, staying cowardly mum while teammate Kyle Beach (and now a second teammate) was sexually assaulted in 2010 by Chicago video coach Brad Aldrich. All these incidents make it abundantly clear that Kane has some serious character issues and carries a black cloud of controversy that just isn’t what this team needs.

When you look at the picture of Patrick Kane in its totality, there’s more risk than reward in this potential acquisition. No increase in five-on-five production, missing time due to rehab and surgical complications, or another domino falling in the Blackhawk sexual assault case are just three of the potential pitfalls a Kane signing could yield for the Boston Bruins. Stay away from Patrick Kane and let other teams wade into the mud, and take the risks he presents.