On July 10, 2015 Patrick Sharp was another one of the Blackhawks’ salary-cap casualties. Now he’s the latest former player brought back into the fold.
Sharp’s return became official on Saturday morning, as the NHL free agency period began. He signs a one-year deal for a reported $1 million (per Bob McKenzie, $800,000 base salary and $200,000 in bonuses), a sizeable pay cut from the $5 million he earned last season.
It’s another instance in which the Blackhawks are bringing back a player who was a big part of their Stanley Cup-winning years. Brandon Saad was reacquired last week from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brian Campbell (offseason) and Johnny Oduya (trade deadline) were back last season.
Sharp is coming off a tough season with the Dallas Stars, especially with injuries. A concussion he sustained early last season sidelined him twice, and a hip injury prevented him from being a potential trade target last February. Sharp underwent hip surgery in March; the expected recovery time was 4-5 months.
Money-wise, the deal is a friendly one for a team with little to spend. The Blackhawks began Saturday nearly $3 million over the $75 million salary cap set for the 2017-18 season. A team can go 10 percent over the cap during the summer but has to be at or under the cap the day the season starts.
One day after finalizing the protocols for Phases 3 and 4, the NHL and NHL Players' Association announced Monday that they have reached a tentative agreement on the Return to Play plan and Collective Bargaining Agreement extension that runs through the 2025-26 season and includes transition rules and a new critical dates calendar.
The tentative agreement is now subject to approval by the NHL's Board of Governors as well as the NHLPA's Executive Board followed by the league-wide NHLPA membership vote, which means the process could take roughly three-to-five days to finalize. Until then, it's only unofficially official.
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The NHL released three key dates in advance of the Return to Play plan and CBA ratification:
- July 13 — Formal training camps open
- July 26 — Teams travel to hub cities
- Aug. 1 — Start of qualifying round
If all goes as planned, Blackhawks training camp will open at Fifth Third Arena exactly one week from Monday before the team heads to Edmonton, where they will take on the Oilers in a five-game play-in series.
On Monday, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews skated with teammates at the Hawks' practice facility for the first time since the NHL paused on March 11.
Teams have been allowed to hold small, voluntary group workouts since June 8 in accordance with the NHL's Return To Play plan. Blackhawks players first started showing up at Fifth Third Arena in Chicago on June 10.
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Patrick Kane and goalie Malcolm Subban, who have been regularly participating in the on and off-ice workouts since they began, were also on the ice with Toews Monday.
Related: Patrick Kane, several Blackhawks return to practice facility
Training camps are scheduled to start on July 13 for teams competing in the NHL's 24-team playoffs held in Edmonton and Toronto, the two hub cities.
The postseason, which has the Hawks facing the Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series is slated to begin August 1.