How Patrick Kane compares to the best American-born forwards in NHL history

kaneUSA.jpgWith the good old U.S. of A. on the minds of many, I thought I’d put together a couple posts on American hockey. Obviously, when thinking of red-white-and-blue hockey, it’s natural to think of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Looking at the roster for the ’06 Olympic team that failed to impress versus a young, scrappy ’10 team that overachieved its way to a silver medal, it’s obvious that there was a passing of the torch. The old stars including Jeremy Roenick and Mike Modano made way for young up-and-comers such as Patrick Kane and Zach Parise.

If I had to pick one young American forward who might be the next big thing, it would be Kane. It’s been quite a year for the young player, as he went from the ugly taxi cab scandal to NHL ’10 cover star to Olympic near-glory and finally a Stanley Cup winning overtime goal. As much as he’s been through (both good and bad), Kane looks like he’s just begun what could be an outstanding NHL career.

In fact, I couldn’t help but ask myself if he could end up being the best American forward, ever. How does he compare to the last generation of American stars at this point in his career? Much like when I compared Mike Green to some of the all-time highest scoring NHL defensemen, let’s take a look at how Kane stacks up to some of the best American-born scorers in their first three full seasons.

Patrick Kane

Regular Season (three seasons)
Games Played: 244
Goals: 76
Assists: 154
Points: 230
Plus/Minus: +9

Playoffs (two playoffs)
GP: 38
G: 19
A: 23
P: 42
+/-: -11

Notes: Although Kane’s plus/minus seems to plummet in the postseason, he actually scores at more than a point-per-game pace. Most players see a dip in point production when they jump from the regular season to the playoffs, but Kane excels (at least numbers-wise) when the games get bigger.

Jeremy Roenickroenickonsharks.jpg

(Note: he played 20 games in the 88-89 season, but I’ll start his stats off from 89-90 to make for a more comprehensive comparison.)

Regular Season (three seasons)
GP: 237
G: 120
A: 143
PTS: 263
+/-: 63

Playoffs (three appearances)
GP: 44
G: 26
A: 22
PTS: 48
+/-: 12

Notes: Kane and Roenick have some interesting similarities. They both have plenty of personality and can be (mostly playful) troublemakers. They both made a splash at the NHL level just about immediately, and with the Chicago Blackhawks to boot. When you consider the fact that Roenick came into the league in a high flying era, I’d say that his slight statistical advantages just about wash out.

Pat LaFontaine

(Much like Roenick, I’m going to leave out his abbreviated rookie year when he played in 15 games during the 83-84 season.)

Regular Season (three seasons)
GP: 212
G: 87
A: 90
P: 177
+/-: 15

Playoffs (three appearances)
GP: 26
G: 7
A: 9
P: 16
+/-: -11

Notes: Advantage, Kane. LaFontaine surely must have been at least on Buffalo-native Patrick Kane’s radar when he was growing up, but Kane is well ahead of the great American forward at this point in his career. LaFontaine’s career didn’t truly take off until his fifth pro season, but by then, the only thing that could stop him were concussion problems.

Mike Modanomodanostar.jpg

(Note: He played in two playoff games at age 18, but we’ll start from full seasons the next year.)

Regular Season (three seasons)
GP: 235
G: 90
A: 126
P: 216
+/-: -14

Playoffs (three appearances)
GP: 37
G: 12
A: 15
P: 27
+/-: -8

Notes: Advantage, Kane, again.

When comparing Patrick Kane to some of the best American-born forwards in NHL history, the young player bests or equals his predecessors. At least at the three-year mark.

You might give Jeremy Roenick the slight edge – especially since he was a more physical player – but Kane is ahead of Modano and LaFontaine at this point in their careers.

So, perhaps this is the biggest question: is Kane primed to be the best American forward … ever? Could he even end up ahead of Modano on the all-time U.S.-born point scoring list? I’m not sure, but it will be fun to find out.

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    Report: Ducks put Despres on long-term injured reserve

    FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2015, file photo, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres skates before an NHL preseason hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Despres has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Ducks on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, solidifying his role in Anaheim after joining the club in a trade last season. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)
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    Simon Despres has played only once this season, back on Oct. 13, due to injury.

    It now appears the Anaheim Ducks don’t see the 25-year-old defenseman returning to their lineup any time soon.

    On Sunday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported on Twitter that the Ducks placed Despres, who carries an average annual value of $3.7 million, on long-term injured reserve, providing Anaheim with some flexibility in the salary cap situation.

    By placing Despres on LTIR, it’s been suggested this could possibly allow the Ducks to sign restricted free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

    Lindholm, 22, missed training camp, instead deciding to stay in Sweden while he awaits a deal with the Ducks. Six games into Anaheim’s season, and still no deal.

    It was reported last month that Lindholm was seeking a deal of eight years, and at least $6 million per season.

    Last week, on TSN’s Insider Trading, McKenzie suggested the two sides could be about $250,000, annually, apart. He also added that there is a “cap hit penalty” when restricted free agents don’t get signed before the season begins.

    “For every day that (Lindholm) is not signed in this season, the cap hit for the team will increase by about $30,000 if he were to agree to a $5.5 million deal,” McKenzie reported.

    “Let’s say he agrees to a deal that’s $5.5 million AAV, well the cap hit’s going to be up around $5.8 (million) as of now, for each day that goes on.”

    Comeback Canucks? Not against the Ducks

    ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Alexander Edler #23 and Philip Larsen #63 of the Vancouver Canucks look on after Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks reacts to scoring a goal during the third  period of a game at Honda Center on October 23, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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    The Vancouver Canucks have made a habit of third-period comebacks early this season. Playing with the lead, though? Not so much.

    Despite their early penchant for late-game magic — certainly not a sustainable method of winning in the long-term — the Canucks were unable to score a come-from-behind win against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

    Instead, they lost 4-2, as Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry scored late in the third period to nullify any chance of a Vancouver comeback.

    Henrik Sedin had gotten the Canucks back into a tied game early in the final period, before the Ducks killed off a Vancouver power play and then surged ahead for good.

    It’s Vancouver’s first regulation loss of the season. In six games, the Canucks have played with the lead only once.

    Really, the score flattered the Canucks, playing the second half of a back-to-back set in California. The Ducks dominated possession, but goalie Ryan Miller kept the Canucks in it until late in regulation.

    The Canucks are now 4-1-1. That’s still a good start, but there have been signs lately that they could soon be served a reality check.


    Meanwhile, the Ducks have won two in a row after losing their first four games to start the season.

    It was promising that their best players were their best players in Anaheim’s home opener.

    Ryan Getzlaf had three assists. Corey Perry had an assist on the winner and scored to put this one away. Defenseman Cam Fowler, who has been at the center of trade speculation in the past few months, scored Sunday and is now up to three goals, with points in four of six games.

    “He’s played great,” Getzlaf recently told the Orange County Register. “Cam put a lot on his shoulders last year. He had a great year for us last year and it gets overlooked a little bit because he does it in a little bit quieter way. He’s not flashy.

    “I thought his play has carried over from last year. He’s continued to play the same way and at a high level.”

    This win puts the Ducks within a point of the San Jose Sharks. The two California rivals face each other Tuesday in San Jose.

    Video: Dan Girardi’s first goal in nearly a year lifts Rangers to victory

    FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2012, file photo, New York Rangers' Dan Girardi looks on during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia. The Rangers say they have agreed to terms with Girardi on a multiyear contract extension, taking the key defenseman off the trading block and keeping him away from unrestricted free agency. The deal was announced Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
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    An offensive defenseman, Dan Girardi is not.

    His last goal prior to this weekend? Nov. 12, 2015. It’s been a while. Almost an entire year now. But in his return to the New York Rangers lineup on Sunday, the 32-year-old Girardi was able to bust his scoring slump on a slap shot from the blue line that beat Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue.

    The Rangers eventually won by a final score of 3-2, with Girardi’s goal counting as the winner. He scored only twice last season, and hasn’t scored more than five goals in a single season since 2009-10.

    Despite poor start, Elliott ‘will find his game very soon,’ says former teammate Jake Allen

    EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 12:  Goalie Brian Elliott #1 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Edmonton Oilers on October 12, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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    OK. So, Brian Elliott isn’t off to a good start in net for the Calgary Flames.

    He has lost all three of his starts. He’s allowed 14 goals with a save percentage of only .839. Not good. Not good at all, especially considering the Flames acquired Elliott with the hopes of addressing their goaltending concerns from previous seasons.

    Chad Johnson has instead started three of the last four games for Calgary.

    Whether it’s Elliott or Johnson in net, the Flames have given up the most goals against in the league, while giving up 30.2 shots against per 60 minutes at five-on-five. That puts them 18th in the league at even strength.

    But despite Elliott’s difficult start, a former Blues teammate of his has voiced support for the 31-year-old puck stopper, optimistically stating that a turnaround will happen.

    “I wouldn’t worry one bit. That’s just my perspective,” Blues goalie Jake Allen told the Calgary Herald. “He’s one of the most competitive people I have ever met, and he will find his game very soon.

    “Obviously, he wanted to get off to a good start (in Calgary), that’s first and foremost, but if it doesn’t go that way, he will rebound and find it. I’m 100 (per cent) about that. I wouldn’t be too concerned if I was a Flames fan.”

    That’s reassuring. Maybe.

    Elliott enjoyed five strong seasons in St. Louis, playing alongside Allen for three of those seasons. But St. Louis was — and still is — a very structured team under head coach Ken Hitchcock, which certainly bodes well for goalies.

    It’s still very early in Elliott’s tenure in Calgary, which also has a new head coach in Glen Gulutzan.

    The coach will have an interesting decision coming up next week, with the Flames making a quick two-game stop in the Central Division. They’ll face the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday and the Blues the following night.

    Elliott didn’t get a chance to face his old team Saturday. Perhaps he’ll get that opportunity in St. Louis on Tuesday.