The Chicago Blackhawks are Stanley Cup champions for the third time in six years, but success often comes at a price. For the Blackhawks, that could mean trading forward Patrick Sharp, who has been one of their best players since joining the team in 2005.
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Sharp Not Expected to Be Traded During Draft
Saturday, June 27
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reported the Blackhawks feel no sense of urgency when it comes to trading Sharp.
This comes one day after Pierre LeBrun of ESPN reported several teams, including the Washington Capitals, were involved in "very preliminary" talks with the Blackhawks regarding Sharp.
Chicago boasts an extremely deep and talented team. However, the salary cap makes it extremely difficult to maintain the status quo. Because of that, trading Sharp may prove to be a necessity for the Blackhawks.
Even so, Chicago isn't willing to simply give him away, as it is reportedly asking for "a first-round pick, A-level prospect and top-six forward on entry-level contract," according to a June 19 report from B.D. Gallof of The Fourth Period.
This news comes on the heels of Hedger reporting earlier that day that a deal involving the 33-year-old veteran was imminent.
The Blackhawks find themselves in a difficult situation since the new contracts for superstar forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane will kick in during the upcoming season. They represent a cap hit of $10.5 million apiece per season, while the likes of Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford all have cap hits of $5 million or more as well, per NHL Numbers.
With Sharp boasting a cap hit of $5.9 million through 2016-17, he is a prime candidate to be moved. Despite that, the Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, native isn't dwelling on the potential change of scenery, according to Kuc:
Right now, I'm not really thinking about it. People know what's going to happen with the salary cap. It's the third time we've gone through it. That's the tough part of pro sports, no question. It feels a lot better when you win a championship and there's turnover in the locker room. We'll see what happens, we'll cross that bridge.
After posting 78 points in 2013-14, Sharp's production was way down this past season, as he ended up with 43 points in 68 games. He was better in the playoffs, though, with 15 points in 23 contests, which is why he still has plenty of value.
The Blackhawks shouldn't have much trouble moving Sharp provided they have a realistic asking price, since he has proven himself to be a valuable, clutch player on the big stage.
If they don't adjust their reported demands, however, it is difficult to imagine a team taking the bait.
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