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GM Stan Bowman: Patrick Kane 'Absolutely' In Long-Term Picture For Blackhawks

(CBS) Speaking about Blackhawks star winger Patrick Kane's future with the team for the first time since prosecutors in western New York announced Kane won't face criminal charges stemming from a rape investigation, general manager Stan Bowman told the Chicago Tribune that Kane is "absolutely" in the franchise's long-term vision.

Kane, 27, is in the first year of an eight-year, $84-million deal. There had been rumors that the image-conscious Blackhawks had been open to trading Kane, given his many off-ice issues, but it appears he'll be in Chicago for the long haul.

Bowman spoke highly of Kane, who's having an MVP-caliber start to the season, with an NHL-best 32 points through Sunday night. Bowman added there was no vindication in having the Kane rape case, which stemmed from an August incident, come to a close without charges.

"It's really about just moving forward with things," Bowman said, according to the Tribune. "Patrick has been the best player in the league. The first 20 games, he's certainly been our best player … I wouldn't characterize it as anything other than I'm happy to see the way he's playing."

Kane and the Blackhawks are in the midst of a six-game road trip. They next play Wednesday at the San Jose Sharks.

Chicago is fifth in the Central Division with 24 points. Dallas leads the division with 34 points.

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