A by-the-numbers look at Patrick Kane’s 2021 season as the Chicago Blackhawks star nears several career milestones

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Phil Thompson, Chicago Tribune
·5 min read
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For all the talk of the Chicago Blackhawks youth movement, 32-year-old Patrick Kane still leads the team in scoring — and by example.

Perhaps Kane is refreshed by the Hawks rebuild, playing some of his best hockey while often working on a line with young players such as rookies Pius Suter and Philipp Kurashev.

“He’s interested in the little things that they bring because he steals from everyone,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “Something that somebody else is doing, he’s going to take it and make it his own, probably do it better. That’s why he’s so great. He’s always looking for new things and how he can improve his game.

“But rejuvenated? I feel he’s continuously a top player in the league, so it’s not really anything new. But he’s been really good for us. He’s finding a way to produce.”

Dylan Strome has played with Kane on the top line in the past and still plays on the first power-play unit with him.

“He’s become a great friend of mine, an awesome person off the ice, and what he does on (the ice) speaks for itself,” Strome said Saturday. “Some big milestones (coming), 400 goals and 1,000 games. Those are things nobody takes lightly.

“He’s earned them. … He’s doing that with the new guys too.”

Last week, Kane thought back to last season, when he recorded his 1,000th point Jan. 19, 2020, against the Winnipeg Jets. He also reached 600 assists Nov. 21, 2019, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“It was fun going through the process last year of getting 1,000 points,” Kane said. “I thought it was maybe a little too much on my mind as you get near, and you just kind of want to get it and get it over with.

“Now, just enjoy everything leading up to it, and I’ve been fortunate to play with a lot of good players, a lot of good teams and with a great organization.”

As Kane closes in on more career milestones, let’s look at several important numbers from his 2021 season.

400 goals

Kane entered Monday night’s game in Detroit with 396 goals — four away from his likely next milestone — and should reach it during the six-game trip that began Monday.

That would put Kane seven goals away from passing Steve Larmer (406) for third place on the franchise list behind Bobby Hull (604) and Stan Mikita (541).

“Obviously the numbers speak for themselves,” defenseman Calvin de Haan said Monday. “He’s had a remarkable career. The fact he’s been able to do it consistently for ‘X’ amount of years is pretty remarkable.

“You see him prepare, he’s very focused and very hockey-oriented, and it’s why he’s good at what he does. It’s great to see and it’s really cool to be in a locker room with a guy like him. The accolades keep piling up for him.”

1,000 games

Kane played No. 990 on Monday against the Red Wings, and barring an unforeseen scratch, he will play his 1,000th game March 7, the conclusion of a three-game homestand against the defending champion Lightning. He then would need eight more to tie defenseman Bob Murray (1,008) for sixth on the Hawks’ all-time list.

“It’s going to be nice to reach those milestones and enjoy them,” Kane said last week. “Hopefully if everything goes right with (COVID-19) protocols and everything, I can share maybe one or two of those moments with my family coming down, so we’ll see what happens.

“It will be nice to do because they’ve been here through a lot of it. … Just kind of enjoy the road to those milestones.”

As for how the locker room will celebrate Kane’s milestones, Colliton said Monday, “The boys usually take care of that stuff.”

3rd in points

Kane’s 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) through Sunday ranked third in the league behind the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (28) and Leon Draisaitl (26).

One caveat: All three had played 16 games entering Monday’s schedule, while others in the top 10 had played as few as 13 because of COVID-19 postponements.

Colliton said Kane’s “play away from the puck, he continues to set an example with his work ethic and pressure on the puck to get it back and create second and third chances. That (top) line, I really like how they’re playing aggressive and relentless.”

1.38 points per game

It will be hard to compare Kane’s numbers in a 56-game season with a typical 82-game schedule, but he’s producing at a career-high pace of 1.38 points per game, according to hockey-reference.com. He has averaged 0.44 goals and 0.94 assists through 16 games.

21:57 average ice time

Entering Monday, Kane was tied with the Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar for the fifth-highest average time on ice among forwards at 21 minutes, 57 seconds. He played more than 27 minutes in two games.

Dominik Kubalik said he would love to know how Kane keeps up his productivity season after season “because I would like to do it too.”

“He’s such a great player, leader on the ice, off the ice too,” Kubalik said. “It’s just great to be around him, to watch him every day, what he’s doing and how he’s playing the game. Sometimes it looks so easy for him to make plays or some moves. I’m really happy that I can play with him.”

10th overtime goal

Jonathan Toews has a franchise-record 15 overtime goals, but Kane isn’t far behind him with nine.

It seems like a matter of time that Kane will get his 10th. The Hawks went to overtime six times in their first 16 games, and Kane assisted on two Alex DeBrincat goals in OT.

On his game-winner Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, DeBrincat said he was trying to set up Kane, but Kane set him up for the goal instead.

“Just gave it to him,” DeBrincat said. “Good things happen when he has the puck.”