CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers and PGL host Chris Boden will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Hawks roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.
In 74 games played during the 2011-12 campaign, Patrick Sharp led the Blackhawks with 33 goals. He also finished with 36 assists for 69 points and a plus-28 rating -- the best of his career and best on the team. Sharp's seven power play goals ranked second on the team and he also had 10 assists with the man-advantage. His 282 shots on goal led Chicago and he was credited with a career-best 80 hits. His eight game-winning goals were also the highest total of his career and he led the Hawks in that category as well. Sharp only scored one goal in the playoffs -- the deflection of Brent Seabrook's shot with 5.5 seconds left in Game 2 to send it into overtime -- and he finished minus-2 in the six-game series.
Boden's take: He was arguably the team MVP during the regular season, leading the team in goals and plus-minus, despite missing eight games with a broken wrist. That was after coming back quickly to start the season on time despite an emergency appendectomy just before the start of training camp. The plus-minus is a credit to his ever-improving defensive responsibility. In previous years, the alternate captain was prone to scoring slumps, but his longest drought was just five games, and he stepped up down the stretch to help the club finish strong. However, Sharp was also among the Hawks stars who were shut down during the playoff series vs. Phoenix when he managed only a tip-in goal in the six games.
Myers' take: The words under the radar have been synonymous with Sharps name for far too long. After tallying his second consecutive 30-plus goal season, Sharp is stating his case to be named among the leagues best - and certainly most consistent - scorers. If not for a broken wrist that sidelined him for three weeks, Sharp probably would have set new career highs in goals, assists and points. He came pretty close, even minus those three weeks. The Blackhawks were smart signing him to a new deal a season before his current one ended.
Chris: As we look ahead to the coming season and the start of the five-year, 29.5 million contract he signed last summer, Sharp is probably targeting the 40-goal mark. Even though he scored seven on the power play this past season, hes a regular on that unit who will be among those counted on to turn it around, which would certainly help his push for the 40 plateau. Sharp has his share of experience at center, but if the plan remains to keep Patrick Kane there, Sharp - whos always been willing to play wherever hes told - would be allowed to play at his more natural wing position, which should help his numbers.
Tracey: The 30-year-old Sharp is hitting his prime, and his stride. Regardless of what line he plays on or what center is beside him, Sharp just scores goals. And theres no reason to think that wont continue at the current rate next season. Oh, and keep him at the wing. Dont even think about moving him from the wing.
How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out the video breakdown of Sharp above.
Previously: Duncan Keith, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador, Sean O'Donnell, Brent Seabrook, Nick Leddy
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