Patrick Kane had a 2015-16 season to remember. At the age of 27, Kane rode a 26-game point streak to a stellar season finishing with 46 goals and 60 assists. That’s 16 more goals than his previous career high of 30. Kane was more aggressive looking for his shot and finished the season ranked second in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin in both even strength goals (29) and power play goals (17). In the previous four seasons, Kane never reached 70-points, but now after amassing over 100 points, what can we expect next season?
Last season, only ten NHL players scored at least 3-points for every 60 minutes of ice time. Patrick Kane has scored over 3-points per 60 in each of the past four seasons, which is a consistently elite scoring rate. The stellar 2015-16 season was due in part to being healthy. If Kane played 82 games each year, his previous point totals would have been 96, 82, and 86 points in the three seasons before the 100-point campaign. Injuries and a lockout shortened season are some of the problems that have hampered Kane’s point totals in previous years. In fact, over the past four seasons, only Sidney Crosby has scored at a higher rate than Patrick Kane. In that same timeframe, Kane is ranked 7th in Even Strength scoring rate and 3rd in Power Play scoring rate.
Patrick Kane contributes having stable line-mates in Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov as being keys to his success last season. Fortunately for Kane, they will be with him again in the 2016-17 season. Kane played around 1000 even strength minutes with Panarin and 300 minutes without him last season. Some wonder if Kane and Panarin are split up, if Kane’s production could go down. I wouldn’t worry about this as Chicago produced a higher rate of even strength goals when Kane played without Panarin compared to when they were together. Kane should be fine if Head Coach Joel Quenneville decides to split up the dynamic duo.
Speaking of Coach Q, the way he deploys his forwards also helps Patrick Kane. Quenneville, compared to his coaching counterparts, tends to deploy his forwards in more extreme deployments than most. He has defensive and offensive lines. He likes to have a line like Marcus Kruger, Andrew Desjardins, and Andrew Shaw take most of the defensive zone faceoffs with a heavy defensive emphasis. He then takes a line like Panarin, Anisimov, and Kane, and puts them in an extreme offensive role putting them in the best position to score. The way Q deployed Kane’s line last season really helped with Kane’s production. With less defensive responsibility and an extreme emphasis on offense, a player like Kane can produce more than the likes of a Toews for the Blackhawks.
If we take a look at Chicago’s forward group as a whole, there is a real lack of scoring ability. Only five returning players had more than 15 points last season for Chicago (Kane, Panarin, Toews, Anisimov, and Hossa). The Blackhawks will again have to rely on Patrick Kane to produce most of the offense for this team to be successful. I believe you can rely on Kane to make your fantasy team successful as well. He has been a consistent top-10 scoring forward in recent years at even strength and on the power play. The only question is how many games he will be able to play.
2015-16 Stats: 46 Goals, 60 Assists, 106 Points, 37 Power Play Points, and 287 Shots on Goal.
2016-17 Projections: 36 Goals, 49 Assists, 85 Points, 27 Power Play Points, and 243 Shots on Goal.