Patrick Kane’s 19th-consecutive game with a point is the longest streak among American-born NHLers. It may be time to say he’s the best player in the world today.
By William Chase
Remember the age-old debate of the best player in the NHL, Alexander Ovechkin vs Sidney Crosby?
Step aside OV, move along Sid, another player has officially stepped to the forefront as best in the world status. This player is the Superman to those giants of the sport.
Who am I talking about?
Patrick Kane has already been among the elite forwards in the NHL since his 2007-08 72-point rookie campaign. He’s always been a nice player, averaging about 25 goals a season, with nearly 70 points annually.
Patrick Kane: a point (goal or assist) in 19 consecutive games, longest streak by U.S.-born player in NHL history pic.twitter.com/Y0FwJY4PsE
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 29, 2015
Now, to be fair, no one would be wrong for laying claim to OV being the best, Steven Stamkos or John Tavares being Kane’s equal, or especially Crosby considering he has the edge in career playoff points to Kane — 118 vs 114 and in less career playoff games.
But to be in the playoffs is the goal right?
Of course one can make the argument that comparing amount of playoff games is not a fair assessment in comparing the better playoff performer. Especially when both Kane and Crosby are so close. While the Pittsburgh Penguins could have wrapped up a series sooner, everyone knows the lack of postseason success for the Pens in recent years.
OV falls off a bit come playoff time as far as points are concerned. Stamkos and Tavares don’t have the amount of games worthy of a comparison. These guys are easily top 5 talents, take your pick of the order. I just made mine.
The reason I’m going with Kane is his whole body of work. The ability to score during the regular season and maintain his consistency into the playoffs.
His current 19-game point streak, the longest streak for an American-born player, pushes him to the forefront of early MVP-candidate discussions, as well as adding to his accolades for an argument such as best player in the league.
He leads the NHL in points (37), assists (23), is second in goals (14) and is top five in plus/minus (12). And yes, his eye-popping pace for a 126-point season is ludicrously good.
His playoff success adds to his allure with 48 goals, 66 assists and 114 points in 116 career playoff games. And of course his three Stanley Cups.
You can talk all you want about the help Kane has with Jonathan Towes in his career, and especially this year with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov, but Crosby hasn’t exactly had to shoulder the burden alone.
The Washington Capitals have been in similar situations of cruising through the regular season and then coming up short in the spring. In recent memory both OV and Crosby have seemingly continued to come up short, maybe not so much individually but collectively as part of their teams.
They’re the captains of their respective teams. Fair or not, they also shoulder the brunt of criticism when their teams, aiming high for Stanley Cup aspirations, fall short. The Chicago Blackhawks winning three in six seasons doesn’t go unnoticed, and Patrick Kane is one integral ingredient to that Cup success.
Regardless of what you think about Kane’s off-ice controversies — theft and assault charges stemming from a cabbie incident in Buffalo, NY in 2009, and a rape investigation earlier this year in which no charges were assessed — Kane is the best American-born player in the NHL today.
And arguably the best player in all the NHL.
Kane has taken 88 shots on goal whereas Ovechkin leads the league with 118, but Kane’s shooting percentage of 15.9% trumps OV’s 10.2. This season OV has 22 points. Kane is just hitting the top ten in shots per/game with 3.7 and OV also leads the league with 5.4.
Who knows how many goals Kaner would have if he attempted more shots. We’re starting to find out as he is up from his 3.0 average last season.
You wouldn’t be wrong if you decided to build a franchise around any of the top elite forwards in the game. However, Kane’s proven it on the biggest stage and now in his ninth season, the 27-year-old seems to be finding a whole new level to his game.