The Blackhawks opened training camp on Thursday, and all the attention was on Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. They're going into the final year of their contracts just as the organization is entering a full-blown rebuild.
For the first time since the chaotic offseason, Kane addressed his potential future and all the speculation that surrounded his name over the summer.
"To be honest, there hasn’t been much discussion about anything, even with my agent or my parents or my family," Kane said. "It’s not anything we’ve really discussed. I mean, I think we all know the situation. I play and what could potentially happen but it’s not really anything I’m thinking about as of yet, so we’ll kind of see how it all plays out. Hopefully we can get off to a good start here and prove some people wrong."
Kane didn't even want to let his mind wander to the possible scenarios about what could happen during the season, especially as the trade deadline approaches. He obviously has complete control over his situation, given the fact he has a full no-movement clause built into his contract.
"We’re not at that point yet, right?" Kane said. "It would’ve been probably easy for people to maybe jump the gun and try to do something after maybe some trades were made or guys weren’t signed or whatever. But that’s not the position we’re in right now."
Because the Blackhawks are in the beginning stages of a rebuild, it's natural for the hockey community to speculate about where Kane could end up if he is, in fact, moved. Kane said he saw some of the rumors but didn't give it too much time and energy.
"You pay attention to it a little bit at first then you block it out after that," Kane said. "I think a lot of the rumors are just rumors that maybe people looking for teams to talk about in August when nothing’s really going on in hockey. Then you have buddies or people or whatever sending you different things, different team names and then question marks, things like that.
"It is what it is, but I think like I said, it was all rumors. I don’t think there was any legitimate discussions between any teams or the Blackhawks, as far as I knew."
Over the offseason, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang signed extensions with the Pittsburgh Penguins that will likely tie them to the organization for life, just like Sidney Crosby. Same with Alex Ovechkin, who will be 41 when his contract with the Washington Capitals expires.
Kane would love for that to happen with him in Chicago, saying in March that it would be a "privilege" and "honor" to finish his career with the Blackhawks. But he also acknowledged "there's always business decisions," and he even saw it last season when Duncan Keith was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for family purposes.
"Like I said last year, there's very few players that end up playing their whole career with one team, right?" Kane said. "You see guys like Crosby and Malkin or Ovechkin, they'll probably finish their careers with the one team. But you see a lot of players now, they're kind of moving all over the place.
"Like I said before, it's not really something I've thought of or anything I'm thinking about right now. Maybe it's getting attention because of the situation that people might think we're in as a team or because of our contracts. It's just a lot of noise right now."