The Post’s Larry Brooks answers questions surrounding the Rangers’ trade pursuit of Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.
Q: Is Patrick Kane a Ranger?
A: No. Not yet.
Q: What is the target date?
A: It looks like Wednesday when the Rangers play next in Philadelphia.
Q: What is the holdup?
A: The Rangers cannot officially complete a trade with Chicago until they have cleared enough cap space to accommodate the remaining portion of Kane’s annual $10.5 million charge.
Q: How will they do that?
A: This has been a complicated, multi-layered, extended and ongoing process in which management has been counting pennies over the last week. The Rangers cleared out space on Saturday by trading Vitali Kravtsov to Vancouver and placing Jake Leschyshyn on waivers. That brought the team within hailing distance of the target, but not quite.
A: The Rangers still needed to create more space in order to acquire Kane. Space accrues and compounds by the day. That is why they sent Braden Schneider to Hartford immediately following Sunday night’s 5-2 victory over the Kings for which the defenseman dressed but did not play.
Injured players are ineligible to be sent to the minors. That is why the Rangers could not risk Schneider incurring an injury. That is why he sat bubble-wrapped on the bench even as his team effectively started the game with five defensemen that turned into four before the end of the first period when K’Andre Miller was ejected after receiving a match penalty for spitting in Drew Doughty’s face.
Ryan Carpenter, recalled so that the team could fulfill the NHL’s mandated roster requirement, is also ticketed for a return to Hartford in conjunction with Kane’s acquisition. Hence, the Rangers could not risk an injury to him, either. Carpenter served the five-minute portion of Miller’s penalty and was credited for a 13-second shift in which he skated from the penalty box to the bench while avoiding injury.
Q: What’s next?
A: It is presumed that the details of the two interlocked deals necessary to make this happen have already been hammered out by general manager Chris Drury.
The Blackhawks will retain 50 percent of Kane’s remaining cap hit. That is the maximum allowed under the CBA. A third-party banker will act as middlemen and retain 50 percent of that sum, leaving the Rangers with a quarter-share, $2.625 million cap obligation.
The Rangers have to send assets both to Chicago and the third-party team in order to complete the trade.
Q: What could that look like?
The Wild have acted as third-party bankers on two trades this deadline period, getting a fourth-rounder in the Ryan O’Reilly deal and a fifth-rounder for participating in the Dmitry Orlov trade. That is the currency that would go to the middle team.
Q: What about the package to Chicago?
A: The Rangers have been adamant about not trading their remaining first-round pick in order to rent Kane after having already dealt their second 2023 first-rounder in the deal to rent Vladimir Tarasenko and Niko Mikkola. Drury has also been steadfast in walling off blue-chip prospects such as Brennan Othmann and Will Cuylle.
A potential future first-rounder could be on the board as part of the package. Kane has a full no-move clause, so he has had the ability to direct a trade to New York and New York only. Thus, the Blackhawks have little, if any, leverage in this.
Q: If a trade is completed on Wednesday, would Kane be able to play that night against the Flyers?
A: That would appear to be the plan.
A: Ask Mark Messier.