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Kane eyeing Eastern Conference for next contract

Patrick Kane - Getty Images Patrick Kane - Getty Images

Free agent forward Patrick Kane appears to be eyeing the Eastern Conference as he narrows down the list of teams he’s willing to join.

TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reports that the 34-year-old, who is inching closer to a return after hip resurfacing surgery in the off-season, has narrowed his list down to a handful of teams.

“I think his list of teams is somewhere between three-to-five range at this point in time,” said Johnston on Thursday’s edition of Insider Trading. “One thing they seem to share in common, at least from my sources, is that they all seem to be based in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re talking about his hometown Buffalo Sabres or the New York Rangers, where Kane finished last season after his trade from the Chicago Blackhawks. The Detroit Red Wings who are off to a great start and have Alex DeBrincat, his former linemate, who is doing well there. Finally, the Florida Panthers fresh off their appearance in the Stanley Cup Final last year where there’s ties between him and general manager Bill Zito.

“Those appear to be the four main contenders and Kane and his agent, Pat Brisson, are going to work their way talking to those organizations to figure out the best fit is towards finding his next contract."

Kane had the surgery on June 1 and was given a recovery timeline of four-to-six months. Brisson released a video of Kane's conditioning routine on Sept. 27 for interested teams to see.

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun previously reported that about a dozen teams reached out to Kane at the opening of free agency on July 1. Kane is expected to be medically cleared to play sometime this month and had been holding off talks on a new contract until he was much closer to returning.

He split last season between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Rangers, having been moved at the trade deadline. He scored 21 goals with 57 points over 73 games between the two teams, and had one goal and six points in seven playoff games as the Rangers were eliminated in the first round.

Drafted first overall by the Blackhawks in the 2007 NHL Draft, Kane helped the franchise win three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013 and 2015), taking home the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013. Kane has also won a number of individual awards, including the Hart, Art Ross and Calder trophies as well as the Ted Lindsay Award.

The Buffalo native has 451 goals and 1,237 points in 1,180 career games split between the Blackhawks and Rangers.