There’s no question Patrick Sharp is a very handsome man. His numbers this season were awfully attractive as well.
With secondary scoring taking a hit due to departures during the offseason, Sharp provided the Blackhawks with a boost through to his unfortunate injury toward the end of the regular season. It was evident how valuable his presence was during the stretch run, when the ‘Hawks had to fight to the final day for a playoff spot.
Here’s what Sharp did this season:
His 34 goals were just two short of his career high set in 2007-08, though his 71 points were the most he’s ever had. Sharp did seem to look very lethargic in his own zone, however, and he hovered around minus-10 most of the season. After registering a stellar plus-24 during the Stanley Cup year, Sharp was able to get the number down a pedestrian minus-1 to make it look much more respectable that it actually may have been.
But there’s no doubting Sharp’s scoring ability, benefiting from playing with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the top line most of the season and on the power play. He netted 12 goals when the ‘Hawks were a man up, with a good chunk coming on back-door feeds from Toews when Sharp snuck to the net. It would have been fitting if he were able to bury a similar opportunity in overtime of Game 7, but the stars just didn’t align.
Sharp began the season with 10 goals and five assists through the first 11 games and continued a stellar pace through out the regular season. His longest scoring drought was eight games, though he didn’t score in the last seven games he played either. Nonetheless, Sharp carried a big load of the Blackhawks scoring, even adding six game-winning goals.
His 34 goals tied for eighth in the NHL despite playing less games than anyone in front of him. Sharpie was one of the most solid and consistent ‘Hawks on the offensive end, helping make up for the digression of Troy Brouwer and the invisibility of Dave Bolland most of the season.
With Bolland out, Sharp centered the second line yet still produced the offensive numbers the Blackhawks expected. It’s a shame the Blackhawks had so many deficiencies this season because Sharp didn’t get enough recognition as he probably should have. Already overshadowed by Toews and Kane, the swings during the season didn’t do Sharp any favors in getting publicity for his quality numbers – especially when Toews made his late-season run at MVP during the Blackhawks’ eight-game winning streak.
With the Blackhawks locking up key players during the season, look for Sharp to sign an extension at some point with a decent dollar amount attached to it. Sharp wants to stay, the Blackhawks want him and so do the fans – and not just because of his stunning good looks.
Simply, Sharp was a main reason the Blackhawks even made the playoffs and exceeded expectations of most everyone.