The Chicago Blackhawks have a stud in Patrick Kane, but is Artemi Panarin better?
The National Hockey League’s website, NHL.com, released its list ranking the top 16 forwards in the league. Of course, the usual suspects are on the list, especially at the top. Names like Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon, and Sidney Crosby round out the top three and there shouldn’t be much debate there. Where there is a debate to be had is down the list where you will find Chicago Blackhawks forward, Patrick Kane.
He has been near the top of the list before but at this point in the game, a top-ten forward is plenty of respect. The thing that stings about his spot on the list is who is ahead of him. Sitting at ninth is fine for a 32-year old that has already accomplished so much. He is even ahead of Auston Matthews who is on track to be one of the best players in the league.
The thing that stings is the fact that Artemi Panarin is one spot ahead of him. Regardless of if you agree with the ranking or not (you should), the fact that the National Hockey League posted it has to annoy any fan. The fact that he is in the same stratosphere as Patrick Kane makes it even worse that they traded him. It was a move that forced the Hawks to end their run of dominance earlier than they needed to.
Getting Brandon Saad back was cool but giving up Panarin was horrible because he is an all-world player. Stan Bowman has made so many bad trades lately and the Panarin one is the worst. He was good enough to be a Hart Trophy nominee in 2020 which shows he is one of the best players in the National Hockey League.
Trading an NHL top-ten player for someone who would eventually be traded later for a depth defenseman would get any normal GM fired. For Stan Bowman, he received a promotion. He is now the Hawks President of Hockey Operations along with being the General Manager. It is sad because it feels like the Blackhawks have a long road of mediocrity ahead of them.
Regardless of what this list says, the trade is in the past and Patrick Kane is still an all-time great player. He is going to go to the Hall of Fame as the greatest player in the history of the team. It is a shame that a great player like that who was so good with Kane had to leave so soon but it is what it is. Hopefully, the Blackhawks are able to avoid more incompetence