Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said All-Star forward Patrick Kane "absolutely" remains part of the team's long-term plans.
Kane came under investigation in August for an alleged sexual assault at his offseason home in Hamburg, N.Y. On Nov. 5, the Erie County district attorney announced that Kane would not face rape charges because of a lack of credible evidence.
Bowman met with the media in Vancouver for the first time since prosecutors declined to charge Kane.
"You can't find talent like that," Bowman said Saturday. "You look at what he's done over the course of his career, whether it's this season, last season ... he's been a game changer. He's one of those guys that's, I've said it a lot over the years, he's able to elevate his game in pressure moments. Not too many guys are able to do that."
The 27-year-old Kane is in the first year of an eight-year, $84 million contract, a deal that includes a no movement clause, according to the Chicago Tribune. Kane is off to one of the best starts of his career with 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) in 21 games.
"Patrick has been the best player in the league," Bowman said. "The first 20 games, he's certainly been our best player and he's had a lot of good starts over the years. ... I wouldn't characterize it as anything other than I'm happy to see the way he's playing."
Kane was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his waterfront mansion outside Buffalo on Aug. 2. He has denied any wrongdoing. The Buffalo News reported on Sept. 19 that DNA evidence obtained during the police investigation did not support the woman's allegation that she was raped.
Kane was the first overall pick in the 2007 NHL draft.