At age 30, Patrick Kane is playing the best hockey of his career. Even better than his MVP campaign in 2015-16 when he also won the Art Ross Trophy with 106 points.
On Friday, Kane became the seventh player in NHL history to record multiple point streaks of at least 20 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, joining Wayne Gretzky (7), Brett Hull (3), Guy Lafleur (2), Mario Lemieux (2), Adam Oates (2) and Steve Yzerman. All six of those players are in the Hall of Fame, and it's not hard to see Kane joining them one day.
Through 61 games this season, Kane ranks second in goals (39), first in even-strength goals (30), fourth in assists (54) and second in points (93). He's on pace for 52 goals, 72 assists and 124 points, which would be career highs in all three categories. And he even missed a game with an illness.
MVP? Kane has the Blackhawks captain's vote.
"Relative to his team, absolutely," Jonathan Toews said. "You see who won the Hart Trophy last year, and in my book there’s no doubt that he should be taking home some hardware at the end of the season this year. But we all know he’s not worried about that right now. He’s worried about keeping his streak going and staying hot and playing his game, and every night he’s a big part of our offense, so it’s pretty incredible to see him do it night after night.”
Taylor Hall was named the Hart Trophy winner in 2017-18 after recording 93 points in 76 games for the New Jersey Devils, who finished as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. Toews doesn't see how this is any different, especially if the Blackhawks find a way into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Kane has strapped this team on his back.
Kane hasn't gone more than two games this season without picking up at least one point, and is one of the main reasons — if not the primary — why the Blackhawks have gone from last place in the NHL to competing for a wild card spot in a month.
Kane's biggest competition is Tampa Bay superstar Nikita Kucherov, who is having a historic year for the Lightning. He's already topped the 100-point mark through 62 games, and is on pace for 132 points. Kucherov would become the first player to hit that point total since 1992-93 when Teemu Selanne and Pierre Turgeon each finished with 132 points.
But Kane isn't far off at a 124-point pace, and he's doing it on a team that has relied heavily on his services. The Blackhawks wouldn't be where they're at in the standings without his consistent production.
"He's been great, no doubt about that," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I can just speak for our team, he's been tremendously valuable. He's at times carried us on his back. ... He's probably going to find another level too."
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