Patrick Sharp was an integral part of the Blackhawks, a player the team acquired when it was still trying to find its new identity and years before it found its constant success.
Now he’s part of their glorious recent past.
The Blackhawks traded Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt. The move clears some cap space for the Blackhawks, who now have about $70.4 million committed to 21 players. Sharp has two years remaining on his contract, which carries a cap hit of $5.9 million per season. Johns is in the final year of a deal paying him $800,000. The Blackhawks take Daley’s contract (two more years at a cap hit of $3.3 million a season) and half of Garbutt’s ($900,000 cap hit each of the next two years).
But this isn’t just what the Blackhawks lost money-wise with Sharp. While it’s no surprise he was dealt, Sharp and his contributions that led to three Stanley Cups in the past six seasons will be missed. His past season wasn’t his best — 16 goals and 27 assists in 68 games — but he’s nevertheless had a lot of great individual seasons. He recorded 34 goals in 2010-11 and 2013-14 (two goals shy of his career best 36 set in the 2007-08 season).
General manager Stan Bowman had been working for some time to get a deal done.
“It’s difficult trying to find a trading partner. You have a need they have and a player they like and they have the cap space to do what you’re trying to do,” Bowman said. “There have been countless phone calls over the past three weeks, this one finally made sense.”
Bowman said he talked to Sharp on Friday.
“More so than anything, [I] just thanked him for everything he’s done of the organization over the years,” Bowman said via conference call. “We’ve been through a lot together. He came when our team wasn’t at the level it was at in recent years and he played a big part in getting us to that next level. It was a great ride alongside Patrick and I wished him well.”
Bowman was also not concerned about trading assets to the Stars, who are in the same division.
“It cuts both ways,” Bowman said. “Dallas is giving us two of theirs to play against their team. I don’t know if that’s something you can pay too much attention to. You have to do what’s best for your team and not be as fixated on what they’re doing. Does this make sense for your team?”
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A message left with Sharp on Friday night was not immediately returned. Two days after winning the Cup, Sharp talked of his trying year, on and off the ice, and how the Blackhawks banded together to win again.
“I blocked out a lot of things out this year,” Sharp said on June 17. “I thought it was pretty unfair to hear some of the stuff I was hearing about myself and my teammates but that’s the kind of group we have: we stuck together and got it done.
“To win a third Stanley Cup in this city is something that I’ll always remember,” Sharp continued. “It’s pretty special. It’s a huge accomplishment.”