Kane Out 12 Weeks: What’s Next for Chicago?

USATSI_8389323_154158418_lowresEarlier today, we shared the not-so-good news that Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane had been injured and was expected to be out for “quite a while.” Now it turns out that things have gone from bad to worse, as Kane had successful surgery on the injury and will be out an estimated 12 weeks.

That means that his recovery will keep him out until the Western Conference Final.

Kane had surgery to repair a broken left clavicle (ouch) and, according to team physician Dr. Michael Terry, “the procedure went very well.”

But now, the Blackhawks have to figure out what to do. They’ve recalled forward Teuvo Teravainen from the AHL for the time being. He has 15 games of NHL experience and managed four points in that timeframe. The Blackhawks will require a more suitable replacement, however. The issue is that you can’t simply replace Kane, who was having the best season of his career, with ease.

One of the options is to slip another top six forward into his spot. Chicago has some options there, with the likes of Kris Versteeg and Patrick Sharp game to step in. Head coach Joel Quenneville had already been shuffling his lines earlier in the week, which put Versteeg on the third line with Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw at first.

Versteeg eventually moved into Kane’s old spot after the injury in the first period on Tuesday.

With Kane on the IR, general manager Stan Bowman has some options to make a move or two before the trade deadline. When they get their player back in the playoffs, the salary cap is “turned off” and they won’t have to worry about cap space to activate him. This means they can afford to do a little shopping now and worry about the consequences come summer.

And this means that Bowman is likely going to shop around for a player with an expiring contract, a “rental” that can be left on the open market come July. This puts names like Antoine Vermette, Chris Stewart and even Jaromir Jagr on the list.

The next few days will be very interesting for Chicago Blackhawks fans. The news is bad on the Kane front, but at least there are some options going forward. The only question now is which path Bowman and Co. will take.

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