When Patrick Sharp was acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks in December of 2005, I would bet that most Hawks fans never dreamed that he would score 150 goals by the end of the 2011 season. Why would we, since he had never scored more than 23 in any one season in his career at any level beyond his 18th birthday. Picked up from the Philadelphia Flyers along with Eric Meloche for Matt Ellison and a third round pick, you’d have to agree that this turned out to be highway robbery at it’s best.
As one of the Hawks most consistent performers, and a player voted as one of the 50 most beautiful Chicagoans (that has nothing to do with hockey), Sharpie continues to give the Hawks and Stan Bowman multiple reasons to show he is committed to the indian.
One of Sharp’s best attributes is his willingness to play either on the wing or at center. He told Brian Hedger of NHL.com either position suits him just fine:
“I’m fine with that,” Sharp said of playing in the middle. “I think from the last six years I haven’t really played one position more than another – left wing, right wing, center and even defense on the power play. I think it’s an asset. You prepare to play all positions. I really don’t care which, as long as I’m on a line that’s working. If I can contribute on that line, then I’m happy.”
His versatility comes in quite handy not only when looking at how to fill out the roster of 18 skaters, but it gives Coach Q options during games as he configures any one of the 870 dizzying line combinations. Some would argue that Sharp and the Hawks played some of their best hockey when Sharp was on the wing with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. However an equal argument could be made when he was centering Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky. Either way the Hawks know that they need to find a solution that keeps Patrick in Chicago for the long haul. Part of the core no doubt, it appears that the intention of the club is to extend Sharp’s deal before he hits free agency after this coming season is completed.
Sharp currently earns a paltry $3.9 million, which is a bargain for his goal scoring acumen. He’s likely to get himself a decent raise to stay, as he should. There’s something to say about his consistency, his even keel, and his role in the dressing room. He’s liked by all his teammates, he’s fun, he’s skilled, and he’s beautiful.
His perfection of the one-timer, which is mostly used on the power play is another thing of beauty. He rarely misses, and he’s adept at finding the open areas on the ice to set himself up. These are skills that can’t be taught. His hockey sense is what has made him the player he is today. Let’s not forget that in 2007-2008 he led the league in shorthanded goals with 7, showing off more of his versatility, and how valuable he is. His playoff numbers are also a good measuring stick of his ability to continue his performance when it matters most. No disappearing act for this guy as in 58 career playoff games Sharp has 39 points, which included 22 points in 22 games in the Cup winning year. Nine of his 22 playoff goals have come on the power play. Compare that to 66 playoff games for Dany Heatley who has scored 15 times and….well….you know where this is going.
Patrick Sharp’s been in Chicago for six years, making quite the name and face for himself. Of all the players who were on the cup winning team of 2010 besides Kane and Toews, and even Keith and Seabrook, this is one of players the Hawks need to make sure doesn’t get away. Locking him up now Stan would be a thing of beauty.
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