CHICAGO — Patrick Kane said he’s not considering a future away from the Chicago Blackhawks despite being “crushed” by the trade of frequent linemate Alex DeBrincat.
“To be honest, there hasn’t been much discussion about anything, even with my agent or my parents or my family,” the 33-year-old said Thursday, the first time he’s spoken since the end of last season.
“I mean, I think we all know the situation, what could potentially happen. It’s not really anything I’m thinking about as of yet, so we’ll see how it all plays out and hopefully, we can get off to a good start here and prove some people wrong.
“I know a lot of people are counting this team out, what we can do, but I think we have a lot of motivated players and a motivated coaching staff as well. Hopefully, get off to a good start and it starts here in training camp, getting up to speed and everyone feeling good.”
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Kane and captain Jonathan Toews have one season remaining on the eight-year contract each signed July 9, 2014. Together, they won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015. Chicago, which is in full rebuild mode, went 28-42-12 last season, finishing seventh in the Central Division, and has not qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in four of the past five seasons.
Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said Wednesday there have been no discussions to trade either Kane or Toews.
“We didn’t have any intention on making any of those moves and they didn’t have any intention on going anywhere, so we were both mutually focused on the season,” he said. “So if it comes to that at some point, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but we’re certainly not there right now.”
The Blackhawks traded two of their top forwards in the offseason.
DeBrincat was traded July 7 to the Ottawa Senators for the No. 7 (Kevin Korchinski) and No. 39 picks (Paul Ludwinski) in the 2022 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. That same day, Kirby Dach was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for the No. 13 (Frank Nazar) and No. 66 picks (Gavin Hayes) in 2022.
Kane and DeBrincat were usually on the same line last season. DeBrincat scored 41 goals, tying his NHL career high in 2018-19, and Kane led the Blackhawks with 92 points (26 goals, 66 assists).
“That’s disappointing and it was kind of crushing at first when you hear the news because, not only did I feel we had some great chemistry on the ice, but he was one of my best friends and closest teammates off the ice,” Kane said. of DeBrincat. “Yeah, it was tough, but I think he’s a guy who’s going to develop into a great player, better than he already is.”
Toews said he felt “shock, a little bit of anger” at the loss of DeBrincat and Dach but is focused on this season with Chicago.
“I was talking with my family and my agent and the thought for myself, personally, has always been to kind of keep trudging forward and getting better and as I’ve mentioned numerous times the last year, and it sounds like a broken record, but working through a lot of stuff, trying to get healthy and feel better and play at the pace and the ability that I know I can,” said Toews, who had 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) in 71 games last season after missing the 2020-21 season because of chronic immune response syndrome.
“A lot of people are wondering and love to speculate and see what’s going to happen. I’m coming in here just fully excited to play hockey and not have any expectation, not be too concerned with what happens for me down the road this season or even beyond that.”
Kane said he wants to get the most out of training camp and the preseason to be ready for the regular season, which begins for Chicago on Oct. 12 against the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena in Denver (9:30 pm ET; TNT). He has dealt with a “nagging” undisclosed injury since the Blackhawks’ playoff appearance in 2020 but said he’s feeling good now.
“I did everything I could this summer to get into a good position and now it’s just going to be about building it back up, endurance, skating hard, playing in these intense situations during camp,” Kane said. “I felt it was like that last year where it took maybe a little bit to get going through camp, but once things settled down a little bit and you get used to skating every day and the intensity of it, it turned out OK.”