Patrick Kane at the center of trade rumours and speculation

Rumours abound today after word broke that the Chicago Blackhawks have already been contacted by five NHL teams regarding Patrick Kane's availability. There is obvious tension between Kane and the Blackhawks management, who have warned him in the past over his off ice conduct. From a source: "The relationship is definitely strained. Could be best for both sides to move on".

To say nothing of the moral implications of acquiring Kane, the player comes with two huge off-ice caveats.

First, his legal status as a person potentially facing rape and/or sexual assault charges makes him an undesirable asset. The Blackhawks and the NHL both have the right to terminate Kane's contract if they feel he violated their policies on player conduct. If a team were to acquire Kane, the NHL could still choose to terminate his contract and/or prevent from from playing in the NHL.

Second, his $10.5 million price tag over the next 8 seasons makes him very difficult for most teams to acquire. The Blackhawks would be very reluctant to retain salary for that period of time, although the Leafs did retain 7 years of salary when they traded Phil Kessel to the Penguins.

There has been no official confirmation as to which five teams have called to inquire about Kane's availability, although early speculation has the Sabres as an interested team. You're not alone if you consider the thought of the Sabres being interested as distasteful, given that the Kane incident occurred in the Buffalo area. It's unlikely that a team would want to acquire Kane right now given these two large caveats.

It's worth noting as well that Kane has a full no-movement clause.

This whole drama is just getting started. Stay tuned.

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