Patrick Sharp felt the emotional mix once he found out he was traded to the Dallas Stars.
After hearing speculation and innuendo for quite a while now, there was naturally happiness to have the deal finally done. And while he’s ready to start a new chapter with a team on the rise, he’s also sad to leave a Blackhawks team he helped bring back to life.
Sharp talked Saturday of the four-player deal that sends him to Dallas. For Sharp, the last few weeks and months have been exhilarating and tiring. He won another Stanley Cup, the third the Blackhawks claimed in the past six seasons. He also heard constant chatter on where he could end up, given the Blackhawks’ salary-cap issues. And when the deal was finally made, it was like a weight was lifted.
“I’ve learned over the years not to listen to too many rumors, where they’re coming from unless they’re coming from [Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman] or my agent. But to hear the speculation was certainly something. It wasn’t weighting but it was getting annoying to a point,” Sharp said via conference call. “We wanted to get something done. I’m thrilled to get to Dallas and ready to get started with a new team.”
It wasn’t so much if Sharp would get traded as when he would get traded. The tighter salary cap – $71.4 million – coupled with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane’s new deals kicking in this season meant the Blackhawks had to shed money. Sharp, who has two years remaining on his current deal (cap hit of $5.9 million) was the most likely to go. Still, when that call comes, it’s not easy.
“The conversation with Stan was a tough one, as was the one with Joel [Quenneville],” Sharp said. “Whenever you leave an organization, there are certainly mixed emotions. You can’t say anything bad about the Blackhawks. I really enjoyed my time there. I’ve grown into the person I am today because of that organization. I look forward to reconnecting with those guys some day, be it the offseason or playing against them.”
Sharp is heading to a team trying to return to its successful years (late 1990s-early 2000s). When the Blackhawks acquired Sharp 10 years ago, he was a young player joining a team that was also trying to revive its former glory. Ten years and three Stanley Cups later, Sharp departs Chicago a proven winner.
“It’s amazing to see the turnaround,” Sharp said. “That’s a credit to some of the players who played there, a credit to front office and to the fan base. It’s amazing to see them win their third Cup in a short amount of time. It speaks to the organization, what a quality group it is; first class in every way. Being a part of it for 10 years, it doesn’t surprise me anymore, with such good quality people there that they had such a turnaround.”
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The trade chatter has been silenced. The weight has been lifted for Sharp. It will be difficult to leave the place and a team he called home for the past 10 seasons but this is the business part of the sport that affects so many. It’s been a great run. Now Sharp is ready to turn the page.
“I can tell you I’m extremely proud of everything I’ve accomplished the last 10 years, on and off the ice. Sometimes that gets lost, the off-ice stuff the Hawks allowed me to do, whether it was interacting with fans, helping in a charitable way or just representing the city with the Hawks. The Cups stand out, no question about that,” Sharp said. “But that chapter of my life is over and I’m looking forward to starting a new one.”