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RW Patrick Kane to make Red Wings’ debut on Thursday vs. Sharks

Detroit signed the veteran wing to a one-year deal for the rest of the season. Kane will make his debut and we’re breaking down the potential impact.

New York Rangers right wing Patrick Kane skates against the New Jersey Devils during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden.  Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Red Wings RW Patrick Kane is expected to make his team debut on Thursday vs. the San Jose Sharks, head coach Derek Lalonde confirmed on Wednesday. The Red Wings signed Kane to a one-year, $2.75 million deal on Nov. 28 for the rest of the season. Kane, who was a free agent, was rehabbing after offseason hip surgery.

It is Kane’s first game since May, when the New York Rangers lost to the New Jersey Devils in Game 7 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“We’ll try to put him in a position to be successful,” Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde told NHL.com on Tuesday. “Even if Thursday’s the game or Saturday, even after that, we’ll be smart about minutes, but we’ll also be smart about who we play him with, give him an opportunity to succeed.

“Of course, I think we’re all curious on how it’s going to look. I think there’s a part of my excitement is, with all of this, the bottom line is he still bet on himself to come to Detroit on the term he did for one year, which that excites me.”

It’s unclear where Kane will slot in the Red Wings’ lineup. That will be something we need to watch out for on Thursday during the team’s morning skate. It also appears that Kane will be on a bit of a minutes restriction initially, so that could mean he skates in the bottom-6 forward group before moving up. We should, at the very least, see Kane skate around 10-12 minutes with some power-play ice time.

Fantasy hockey impact

If you see Kane available on the waiver wire, he’s worth an add given his track record. Once he’s up to speed, Kane could be in the top-6, skating with any combination of C Dylan Larkin, LW Alex DeBrincat and/or RW Lucas Raymond. Looking at the Red Wings’ line combos and knowing Kane’s history with DeBrincat, it makes the most sense for Kane to eventually skate on the second line at RW in place of Michael Rasmussen. We could also see Kane on the second PP unit with DeBrincat to spread out the depth.

The Red Wings have won three in a row and six of the past seven games, scoring at least four goals in each win. Kane should only boost the offense once he’s up to speed. Kane’s playmaking ability should boost the fantasy value of whomever he is skating with on Detroit. Be sure to look out for which line Kane will skate on and see if you can get some positive correlation.