The final season of Patrick Kane's current contract is not one the future Hall-of-Famer will reflect on with any fondness.

Kane struggled through 2022-23 amid speculation he was nursing a hip injury. After nearly 16 seasons in Chicago, he was shipped by his request to the New York Rangers on Feb. 28 in a three-team deal. However, he was unable to help the Rangers win the Stanley Cup as they were eliminated by the New Jersey Devils from the opening round of the playoffs.

Eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, Kane faces an uncertain future. The 34-year-old right winger could miss the start of 2023-24 after undergoing hip resurfacing on June 1. With his best years now behind him, Kane won't be receiving any lucrative contract offers this summer.

That doesn't mean there won't be any interest in Kane. He's only a year removed from a 92-point performance in 2021-22. He's expected to make a full recovery and wants to continue his playing career. There could be clubs willing to take a chance on him next season.

On June 7, TSN's Chris Johnston speculated Kane will take some time during this summer to allow the free-agent market to settle down a bit. That will enable him to make an informed decision on potential destinations. Johnston thinks Kane could be open to a one-year deal or something a little longer.

Kane won't receive offers anywhere near the $10.5 million average annual value of his expiring contract. With next season's salary cap projected to rise by just $1 million, interested clubs could have limited cap room to sign him. Depending on the team, he could be forced to accept a one-year deal for perhaps well under $5 million.

Nevertheless, Kane could be receptive if it's an opportunity to prove his worth with a playoff club. Here is our take on five teams that should give him that opportunity. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.


Buffalo Sabres

A native of Buffalo, perhaps Kane might be tempted to sign with the Sabres. After years of rebuilding, they're on the cusp of breaking through as a playoff contender in 2023-24. That could make his hometown team an intriguing possibility for Kane as a free agent.

At first glance, the Sabres appear to have no need for an aging right winger, even one with Kane's championship credentials. Alex Tuch enjoyed a career-best 79-point performance in 74 games while rookie wingers Jack Quinn and JJ Peterka showed promise this season. Power-play specialist Victor Olofsson remains under contract for next season.

Tuch, however, has a long injury history and could become sidelined again next season. Quinn and/or Peterka could struggle faced with heightened expectations and increased playing time. On June 12, The Buffalo News' Lance Lysowski reported Olofsson expects to be traded.

Kane could be an affordable short-term insurance addition next season for the Sabres. Depending on their cap space before the start of next season, perhaps a one-year deal between $3 million and $4 million might be enough to bring his wealth of playoff experience and leadership to their roster.