As we approach July 1st, and we sit squarely in the free agent negotiating window, we are guaranteed to see players linked to the Blackhawks to fulfill their need for scoring depth on the wing, and the perennial need for depth and experience on defense. Currently, the ‘Hawks sit over the cap, as they wait to potentially move the contract of Marcus Kruger, and determine how they will handle Marian Hossa’s contract; this does not mean that they won’t be active come free agent time.
One name that continues to be brought up as a possible target of the Blackhawks has been former ‘Hawks, Patrick Sharp. NHL reporter Brian Hedger confirmed the possible interest on the Blackhawks part, in bringing the 35 year old wing back to Chicago to provide them with depth on the wing. Sharp is only a year removed from a solid freshman campaign on the Dallas Stars; where he netted 20 goals and 55 points on a Stars team that looked to be a force in the Central Division. One year later however, the Stars plummeted to the bottom of the standings hampered by injuries, including Sharp who only played in 48 games with a collection of 18 points. Sharp’s season was hampered by injury and officially ended with only a month remaining in the season; electing for hip surgery to resolve an issue that he battled with throughout the 2016-2017 season. Sharp is expected to make a full recovery from his surgery well before the start of training camp next season, but is he really a good fit for this Blackhawks team?
Looking at the current composition of this team and what appears to be Stan Bowman’s vision of getting younger, faster and more difficult to play against, it would appear as through Sharp would not fit the bill for the current vision of this team. Sharp’s past success within the Blackhawks organization cannot be looked past, and you would imagine he would be a cheap option that, if healthy, could provide the ‘Hawks with a solid scoring option, allowing them the chance to play up and down the line up. The question I have is do we need to do this again? Do we need to keep retreading former ‘Hawks on the current make up of this team? Andrew Ladd, Kris Versteeg, and most recently Johnny Oduya have come back to this ‘Hawks team with limited success, and maybe it’s time that we just move on from what we as fans view, as the glory days of the organization. Maybe it’s time that we inject younger talent into the lineup and help build a growing, evolving sustainable product. Yes, the ‘Hawks did bring in a former ‘Hawk, Brandon Saad, but the reacquisition of Saad fits into the current direction of the ‘Hawks; a big, fast, and young forward who still is in the prime of his hockey career.
I, like many, love Patrick Sharp and what he has contributed to this team throughout the years, but we need to face the fact that Sharp is on the downward slope of his career and it is time to give others the opportunity that the ‘Hawks gave Sharp back during the 2005-2006 season. Patrick Sharp’s career will continue in 2017 but that might have to be outside of the Windy City.