Chicago right wing Patrick Kane.

Chicago right wing Patrick Kane. Credit: AP/Noah K. Murray

After all the crazy moves the Rangers had to pull off in the past few days to create enough room under their salary cap to fit in Chicago forward Patrick Kane, when the time finally arrived Tuesday evening that they could make it happen, they did not wait.

At 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Rangers announced they had acquired Kane from Chicago in a three-team deal that included the Arizona Coyotes acting as a broker to facilitate the deal by taking on 25% of Kane’s salary.

The Rangers agreed to send a conditional second round draft pick in 2023, a fourth rounder in 2025 and Hartford defenseman Andy Welinski to Chicago in exchange for Kane, 34, the three-time Stanley Cup winner and 2016 Hart Trophy winner, who has 446 career goals and 1,225 points, and minor league defenseman Cooper Zech. The Rangers will also send a 2025 conditional third round pick to Arizona.

A source said the conditional pick would become a first rounder in 2024 or 2025 if the Rangers make the Eastern Conference finals this season. The Rangers also got minor league defenseman Cooper Zech from Chicago. 

Chicago retained 50% of Kane’s $10.5 million cap hit, and Arizona absorbed 25%, allowing the Rangers to acquire Kane while taking on only 25% of his cap hit equaling $2.625 million. Technically, Chicago traded Kane to Arizona and the Coyotes relayed him to the Rangers.

“There certainly has been a lot of moving parts in the last week to 10 days,’’ Rangers general manager Chris Drury said on a Zoom call to talk about the deal. “We’re just excited It's over, excited we completed the trade call and acquired Patrick Kane. Certainly what he's done in this game personally and on the team level is amazing, and to add him to our group. It was a great, great moment, and great night for organization.’’

Getting Kane, squeezing him under the $82.5 million cap, did require quite a bit of maneuvering. The trade couldn’t happen until after 5 p.m., when, for salary cap accrual purposes, it would go down as having occurred on Wednesday. The Rangers needed to wait until Wednesday, because that’s when they would have the cap space..

The Rangers were able to announce at 5:30 the recall of defenseman Braden Schneider from AHL Hartford, and the return of forward Ryan Carpenter to Hartford. Schneider had been assigned to Hartford after Sunday’s game as part of the machinations needed to create the space to add Kane.

In addition, the Rangers announced they had sent Hartford forward Austin Rueschhoff to Nashville, in an unconnected deal, for future considerations.

Once Chicago made clear last summer it intended to sell off assets and rebuild, the Rangers were always the favorites to land Kane, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. But on Feb. 9,  Drury traded for Vladimir Tarasenko from St. Louis, who seemed to fill the hole the Blueshirts had for a scoring right wing to play on one of their top two lines.

At that point, it seemed the pursuit of Kane was over. But Kane was clearly annoyed, telling reporters the next day, “It’s not the happiest I’ve been after a trade.’’

With Chicago looking to get something for Kane rather than letting him go in the summer for nothing, and with Kane owning a no-move clause in his contract and determined to force a trade to the Rangers, Drury decided it was worth trying to get the 34-year-old, who recently became the fourth-leading American-born scorer in NHL history.

Getting Kane now gives the Rangers two top right wings for their top two lines, and Drury also acquired defenseman Niko Mikkola along with Tarasenko from St. Louis, and fourth-line winger Tyler Motte from Ottawa.

“I'm excited we were able to acquire the players we've acquired,’’ Drury said. “We looked at our lineup all year long and tried to hone in on pieces we think we needed to become better. And we're happy we were able to get the pieces where we did, back to Vlad and Mikkola, ‘Motter’ last week and certainly Patrick today.’’

Getting Kane, when the team was nearly capped out, was complicated.

First, Drury needed to move forwards Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn off the roster by last weekend to open up cap space. Kravtsov was traded to Vancouver Saturday and Leschyshyn was demoted to AHL Hartford Sunday, after clearing waivers.

An injury to defenseman Ryan Lindgren Saturday that kept him out of Sunday’s game against the L.A. Kings forced the Rangers to call up Carpenter in order to dress the full complement of 18 skaters, but Carpenter and defenseman Schneider didn’t play that night, in order to keep them healthy and ensure they would be able to be assigned to Hartford to clear space to get Kane.

Schneider was then assigned to Hartford after the game, and his being off the Rangers roster Monday and Tuesday allowed them to accrue enough space under the cap.
 

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