Many Chicago Cubs have come and gone over Patrick Kane's Blackhawks tenure

Cleveland Indians v Chicago Cubs
Cleveland Indians v Chicago Cubs / David Banks/GettyImages

October 4, 2007. Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly slams his glove on the grass in Arizona after giving up a three-run homer to Chris Young in game 2 of the NLDS. The Cubs would go on to lose the game 8-4. That same night, 18-year-old Patrick Kane was making his NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks in Minnesota.

Kane was the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft, but this was still a mere footnote in Chicago sports news. The Blackhawks had fallen into complete irrelevancy, with the team being awful and under the ownership of William "Dollar Bill" Wirtz. A few nights later, on October 6, the Cubs lost 5-1 at Wrigley Field in game 3 as they got swept out of the postseason by the Diamondbacks. That same night, Kane made his home debut in Chicago against the rival Detroit Red Wings and scored a shootout goal against future Hall of Fame goalie Dominik Hasek. Again, the primary story that night was the Cubs.

16 years, 1,161 games, 446 goals, 779 assists, and three Stanley Cup championships later, Kane's tenure in Chicago comes to an end. The now-34-year-old has been dealt to the New York Rangers. His tenure lasted from October 4, 2007-February 28, 2023.

In terms of seasons played in, the most recent Cubs (past 40 years) to play close to what Kane did as a Blackhawk include Ryne Sandberg (15), Sammy Sosa (13), and Mark Grace (13). Worth noting Sandberg briefly retired in 1995. When Kane made his NHL debut, the Cubs NLDS lineup consisted of Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto, Mark DeRosa, Ryan Theriot, Matt Murton, and Jacque Jones. The only member of the 2007 Cubs postseason roster still actively playing in MLB is 42-year-old Rich Hill.

Over Kane's tenure, the Cubs had gone through ownership change in 2009, the Theo Epstein rebuild, winning that long-waited World Series in 2016, the Jed Hoyer tear-down and retooling. This includes six different Cubs managers and three regimes (Jim Hendry, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer). Not to mention when Kane started, Wrigley Field had no video boards and outdated facilities.

It feels like Anthony Rizzo was a Cub for a very long time, but compare his tenure to Kane's with the Blackhawks. By the time Rizzo made his Cubs debut, Kane already had won a Stanley Cup and had five NHL seasons under his belt. Kris Bryant made his MLB debut the same week Kane and the Blackhawks started the first round of the 2015 playoffs. Jon Lester only had 144.1 innings under his belt as an MLB pitcher by the time Kane made his debut, and Lester has since retired. Not a single current Cub on the projected roster was playing professional baseball in 2007. Prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong was five years old!

It is pretty amazing to see how much has changed and who has come and gone since 2007. Kane was one of the very few consistent things in this sports city over the past decade-plus. Can only wonder if there will ever be another Cub to play as long as Kane did with the Blackhawks.

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