Patrick Kane is expected to make his Red Wings debut either Tuesday in Buffalo or later in the week in Detroit.
Patrick Kane is officially back in the NHL. The three-time Stanley Cup winner signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 28 and he is expected to make his return from off-season hip surgery sometime this week.
There is almost no risk for Detroit with this contract, but what can the Wings realistically expect in terms of production from a 35-year-old coming off a major surgery?
Patrick Kane pre-surgery
There’s no question Kane is in the conversation as arguably the best American hockey player of all-time. The nine-time All-Star has won three Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy, an Art Ross Trophy, a Hart Trophy and a Ted Lindsay Award while scoring over 1,200 regular season points in 16 seasons mostly spent with the Chicago Blackhawks. He is the only American-born player to win the Hart and Art Ross and he is the youngest U.S. player to reach 1,000 career regular season points.
Kane ended last season playing 19 regular season games and seven playoff games as a member of the New York Rangers, making Detroit his third Original Six franchise.
Patrick Kane off-ice expectations
Kane had a few off-ice issues early in his career, but by all accounts he matured into a valuable leader inside Chicago’s locker room long before he was moved at last season’s trade deadline. He holds a wealth of playoff experience with 138 points in 143 postseason games and he has experience turning a franchise around.
Prior to Kane’s rookie season, the Blackhawks had missed the playoffs in eight of the previous nine years. After missing the playoffs in his rookie year, Chicago went on to make 10 straight postseason appearances, winning three Stanley Cups in that stretch. Kane is a player that should be well respected by his Detroit teammates.
Patrick Kane post-surgery
At 35-years-old, Kane is obviously well into the back half of his career and it showed last year. His point production dropped drastically, but it’s important to remember he was dealing with a significant hip issue and he was playing on a tanking Blackhawks team for the majority of the year. Here’s Kane’s points per game averages over the last five seasons:
|Points Per Game Average
Last season was the lowest points per game average of Kane’s career, but there’s reason to believe his numbers will improve in 2023-24. Outside of being healthier, Kane is also reuniting with Alex DeBrincat, his former linemate in Chicago for five seasons from 2017 to 2022. Kane and DeBrincat already have established chemistry. Kane scored a career-high 110 points in 2018-19 playing on a line with DeBrincat and the two players were linemates for most of the two seasons that DeBrincat scored 41-goals (2018-19, 2021-22).
Kane is an elite playmaker and he should pick up a good amount of points on Detroit’s top power play unit this year. He was obviously on Chicago’s top PP unit last year, but the Red Wings are much more successful with the man advantage. Detroit’s power play is ranked eighth in the NHL this season (23.5 per cent success rate) while Chicago had the 28th-ranked power play last year (16.4 per cent).
Patrick Kane 2023-24 points total prediction
Kane is aiming to make his Red Wings debut Tuesday in his hometown of Buffalo. That would give him 59 regular season games in the lineup through the rest of the year, but keep in mind there is a chance he doesn’t play until the team returns to Detroit to host the Sharks on Thursday and the Senators on Saturday.
Let’s assume Kane plays 50 games this season. Even if his points per game average is as low as last season (I expect it to be higher), that still puts him on pace for 39 points in 50 games. Kane clearly isn’t the player he was during Chicago’s Stanley Cup runs, but I’m still banking on him to blow past the point total of 35.5 that oddsmakers have set for him in 2023-24.