Rangers' visit to woeful Flyers could be start of Patrick Kane era
Longtime Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane could be wearing a new uniform for the first time in his decorated NHL career Wednesday night when the New York Rangers visit the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Rangers acquired Kane and prospect Cooper Zech from Chicago on Tuesday in exchange for minor-league defenseman Andy Welinski, a conditional 2023 second-round pick and a 2025 fourth-round pick. The Arizona Coyotes retained 50 percent of Kane's salary in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in 2025.
A three-time Stanley Cup champion, Kane has recorded 1,225 points (446 goals, 779 assists) in 1,161 career games since being selected by the Blackhawks with the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL Draft. He won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2016 and will be reunited with former Chicago teammate Artemi Panarin in New York.
It's unknown if Kane will be available to suit up with the Rangers for the first time Wednesday.
In the Rangers' last outing, a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, defenseman K'Andre Miller received a match penalty and was ejected late in the first period for spitting in the face of Drew Doughty.
Miller, who released an apologetic statement on Twitter, received a three-game suspension from the league Tuesday and will be unavailable against Philadelphia.
When Miller was ejected, the Rangers rallied and played one of their best games of the season.
"Typical and routine if you're a mite hockey player," defenseman Adam Fox said. "But it almost makes it easier to play and keep it simple when you know you're going to be on every other shift."
The Rangers had dropped four in a row before the three-goal win over the Kings. The defense tightened, the offense produced timely goals and Igor Shesterkin made a number of stellar saves.
Now the Rangers will look to maintain this positive momentum as the trade deadline nears.
"I remember last year we had a slump a couple of weeks before the deadline," New York center Mika Zibanejad said. "And we talked about not waiting to see what was going to happen. It's the same here. We can't wait and I don't think we have been waiting. We wanted to turn this around as quickly as possible."
Just down I-95, the Flyers are coping with a much different situation.
Outspoken coach John Tortorella was brutally honest about the state of the team Monday. After stating that the Flyers weren't making the playoffs this season, he added that they would be sellers at the trade deadline.
And Tortorella didn't stop there.
"Next year is going to be a grind, too," he said. "This is a process. It's going to take time."
The Flyers have dropped 11 of their last 14. In their last game, the Flyers were embarrassed in a 7-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
Ahead of the trade deadline Friday at 3 p.m. ET, James van Riemsdyk is likely to be dealt. Kevin Hayes, the team's lone All-Star, is also a possibility to be traded.
With leading scorer Travis Konecny out with an upper-body injury, wins could be scarce. The Flyers are 1-6-2 without Konecny this season. Philadelphia is already missing key players such as Sean Couturier and Ryan Ellis.
"I'm hoping that we understand -- especially now, we're not getting in the playoffs -- we need to concentrate on being who we are as hard as we can be and try to win games understanding we have to defend first," Tortorella said Monday. "Because we just lost -- and (Konecny is) going to be out for a while -- our best offensive player that is involved in so many different things with this team to keep us going. He's out.
"That's where I have to take responsibility, in making sure that we are thinking clearly."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 28, 2023