Mar 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks centerPatrick Sharp
(10) moves the puck past Nashville Predators defensemanHal Gill
(75) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Sharp is coming off his second best season in his NHL career. His play last year was one of a dependable veteran, with a strong shot of youth (his hat-trick on November 25th against the Anaheim Ducks comes to mind.) At 31 years of age, he is entering into the prime of his career. He has exhibited quality leadership as an assistant Captain, especially in the absence of Jonathan Toews late last year. At 6′ 1″, 199 lb, he is not easy to knock around, and that comes in very handy during the scrums in the corners and in front of the net. With arguably the best vision on the ‘Hawks, he has often shown the peace of mind to set up in the offensive zone when his window on the rush is closing.
What Coach Q and the rest of the Blackhawks are looking for in Sharpie is for his consistency over the past 2 years to continue. In his 2011-2012 campaign, he amassed 69 points and 38 PIMs in 74 games. The year before that, in the same amount of games, he had 71 points, and the same penalty minutes. His positional play is a thing of beauty, and only something that comes with the amount of NHL experience that he has. Not once last year was I screaming at my TV about Sharp being out of place. He has a very cool head, and as long as Jiri Hudler doesn’t come around with another nasty slash, I would expect Sharp to be on the ice every game this season.
However, he will need to make a bigger impact in the playoffs this year. Besides his deflection goal in Game 2 of the Quarterfinal series against Phoenix, he did not show up at all in the 6-game series, which is unacceptable. If we want to see Blackhawks hockey in mid-June, we will need production from him.
With that being said, I’m putting his over/under at 19 goals, and 22 assists. Provided he stays healthy, I don’t think this should be a problem for him.
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