Patrick Kane played in all 82 games and averaged 20 minutes and 12 seconds per game in 2011-12. He scored 23 goals and had 43 assists for 66 points and finished plus-7. Four of his goals and eight assists came on the power play and five goals were game winners. In the playoffs, Kane failed to score a goal in six games while picking up four assists and finishing plus-1.
Boden's take: We won't go into any long dissertation here about Cinco de Mayo weekend and how upset management was about having to see stuff like that all over again. The bottom line is this: he had the worst statistical season of his career. Yes, it probably took the first several weeks to get his surgically-repaired wrist up to speed. Yes, he got shuffled back and forth between center and wing. And yes, he came through when he was needed most -- down the stretch with his buddy sidelined, helping fill the huge hole the absence of Jonathan Toews left. And even though he was kept off the scoresheet, I don't believe he had a bad playoff series against Phoenix. But like most of the rest of the team, he fell short of "good."
Myers' take: You could imagine our surprise late in the preseason, when coach Joel Quenneville announced in Detroit that Kane may start the season at center. Our guess is Kane was surprised to hear it, too. And while it wasnt his natural position, Kane played very well in that spot and gave the Blackhawks a great 1-2 punch with Marian Hossa on his right side. Kane didnt have the point totals he wouldve liked but he handled the center job well. He also performed admirably down the stretch, becoming the impromptu team leader when the captain was sidelined for nearly two months with a concussion. But then there was his very quiet postseason -- and then his not-so-quiet start to the offseason.
Boden: His best NHL season came during the Stanley Cup campaign. He and the other stars benefited from that team's outstanding depth. But No. 1 overall picks have to find a way to be more productive than what he provided last year. That need will be even more challenging if his bosses stick to their playoff post-mortem plan to have him become the second-line center. Personally, I'm not a believer that's how he'll be most productive, but I'm always reminded by Steve Konroyd how much Kane loves challenges. If he can parlay what he did in the last six weeks over six months, it'll be a success. His numbers have gone down the last two seasons, anyway. And if I think I know him, Kane's probably laying low, and working hard the rest of the summer to try to prove something next season. The Hawks need him to.
Myers: The Blackhawks want Kanes focus to be on hockey; and during last season, it was. But Kane had another inauspicious start to another summer, and those off-ice stories are now overshadowing anything hes been doing on the ice. Does Kane have a problem and does he need to get help for it? Both of those can only be answered by Kane, and if he doesnt think the former hes not going to seek the latter. For now, the Blackhawks will probably stick with him, but everything has its limit. Theres no doubting Kane is truly a talented player. But its up to him to realize how great of a career he could have and to make sure he doesnt fritter it away.
How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out the video breakdown of Kane above.