Patrick Sharp is coming back to Chicago.Details to come out later today when he can officially sign, but look for something under a $1M AAV with performance bonuses.
This feels right. Patrick Sharp is a Chicago Blackhawk again. Right where he belongs. He is a huge part of what the Blackhawks built here in Chicago and with guys like Hjalmarsson and Hossa no longer a part of the group it makes perfect sense to bring back #10 and have him absorb some of that void in the locker room. And quite frankly…that void has been there since he left. Sharp has always been a popular guy in the locker room. He definitely left some money on the table, but now he gets to wear the Indian Head again and will get to go to the rink every day with his guys. Even when he was playing with Dallas, he was still a Blackhawk at heart
On the ice, it’s a great fit. Lots of people have voiced concerns about Sharp’s injury plagued season last year. I don’t think he fell off a cliff. He had a tough season on a bad team when he was playing through injury. I’m an optimist. I see him coming back in tremendous shape, playing on the left side and getting power play opportunities. Yes, his goal totals were WAY down last year, but he also had a career low shooting percentage at 5.5%. There’s no way in hell it’ll be that low again. Sharp’s shot volumes were still high. That’s the key. It’s very conceivable that with a healthier season, on a better team, and with a normal shooting percentage Sharp could be back up to 20+ goals. Sharp also gives them a right handed shot on the powerplay. Something that they will miss with the loss of Panarin. And…Sharp gives them bite. The Blackhawks were way too easy to play against vs Nashville. As Steve Konroyd used to say about Sharp “he’s a back alley tough guy”. You can go to war with Sharp. They needed more of that competitive fire on the roster last year and now he brings that plus some offensive pop. It’s also tremendous value. If you look around the league at other 35+ guys on the free agent market like Justin Williams, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, etc…that type of experience and offensive ability is going to cost you millions. Sharp left significant money on the table to come back to Chicago and play with his guys.
Critics of this will say that he’s too old and slow and that he’s taking a spot away from a young guy who could develop. Well you know where a great place is for a young guy to develop…The American Hockey League. That’s what it’s there for. Now, I don’t know what the bottom 6 will look like. I think Hayden, Debrincat, and company will be good players some day. Maybe even this year at some point. However, Patrick Sharp can help you win NOW. And the Blackhawks are in the business of winning now. And for all the reasons listed above, Sharp helps the team win now.
We’ll see how it all shakes with lines and if Schmaltz becomes a center, but no matter how you slice it the Blackhawks are starting to look like a team with much better depth.
If it were up to me because I think Schmaltz is a center…
Losing Hossa, Panarin, Hjalmarsson, and Kruger in one off-season isn’t easy. But bringing back Saad and Sharp definitely helps mitigate some of those losses. I really like the look of this forward group. Toews has a bounce back year playing with Saad, Schmaltz continues to improve and becomes a 60+ point guy playing with Kane, Sharp and Anisimov give the Blackhawks legitimate scoring depth, Stan picks up an extra D man at the deadline with that banked LTIR and the Hawks are on their way. Lets go get number 4.
PS: Hartman, your hair is officially on notice.