What the hell is going on here? Seriously, what is going on? Patrick Sharp has been shipped from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Dallas Stars per NHL.com with prospect Stephen Johns for forward Ryan Garbutt and defenseman Trevor Daley.
Even before the buzzer sounded a few weeks ago and Chicago was crowned Stanley Cup Champions it was pretty much a given that Patrick Sharp was going to be traded. The Blackhawks were running out of cap room to pay players and Sharp’s large and aging contract was the biggest reason why. Sharp has flat out been the man for 10 great seasons in Chicago. A former University of Vermont stud who was traded from the Philadelphia Flyers before blossoming (shocking Philadelphia would do that…) to Chicago, Patrick Sharp was an integral and gorgeous part of what became a modern era dynasty in Chicago. He racked up 3 Stanley Cups in 6 years with the Blackhawks. But before the dynasty began he was part of some “ehhhh” teams in Chicago when they couldn’t fill half of the “Madhouse on Madison”. The organization was just looking to find a way before they drafted Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. But he’s been the constant from re-build, to dynasty, to now.
And I get guys like Patrick Sharp who are 33-years-old with contracts that are problematic for teams up against the cap coming off a Stanley Cup victory are the first to get chopped. But if you’re going to get cap relief, really get cap relief. By trading Patrick Sharp the Chicago Blackhawks get rid of his $5.9 million per year salary and prospect Stephen Johns $800,000 cap hit. But they added Trevor Daley’s $3.3 million salary. And they added Ryan Garbutt and half of his $1.8 million salary (Dallas will pay the other half). So they freed up only $2.5 million in all. Not enough if you ask me.
I do get what both teams are doing. Trevor Daley is a legit offensive defenseman acquisition for the Chicago Blackhawks and Ryan Garbutt is a good additional piece. Dallas gets a bonafide winner, gamer, and ridiculously good looking winger who can bury from a team in their own division. But, the biggest on-ice problem Dallas has is defense. And that didn’t improve by trading away arguably one of their top defensive assets. And if Chicago wanted cap relief then dump Sharp for picks and prospects to free up at least $4+ million.
In the end, Chicago GM Stan Bowman must believe the Blackhawks have another Cup in this core group of players and he didn’t want to do a complete salary-dump-for-picks, maximum cap relief trade. Instead, Chicago opted for a little cap relief while also trying to bolster a defensive core by acquiring Trevor Daley who doesn’t exactly play great defense in his own end. Even though I feel Stan Bowman falls short with this deal by not significantly clearing more cap space I think Chicago still wins this trade because it helps fill more immediate needs for them than Dallas. Dallas still needs to learn how to play defense, a position Patrick Sharp doesn’t play, and also hope Sharp can return to the 30 goal scorer he’s been.