If you’ve been following the Chicago Blackhawks at all, you know they are about to hit a massive NHL salary cap problem. Like that massive asteroid from the movie Armageddon. Note to Barry Bonds, Alex Rodrigues and Manny Ramirez: I said asteroid, not a steroid… cheaters.
Anyways, with the asteroid, you know it’s coming but don’t know what to do. And I don’t think the Blackhawks staff anyone like Bruce Willis who can heroically save the day by sacrificing just one person. Unless Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman has a background in asteroid drilling I’m not aware of…
And since you’ve been following the Hawks well documented salary cap troubles, you are probably aware the Hawks will have to free up significant cap space this season if they hope to resign Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane next summer.
The easy name out there is Patrick Sharp, who’s annual cap hit is $3.9 Million until the conclusion of the 2012 NHL season. According to the rumor mill, he’s going to Ottawa, Montreal, blah blah blah. Sure – Any team would love to have Sharp. A $3.9 Million cap hit is pretty reasonable considering the kind of player Sharp is and the kind of intangibles he brings.
I’m a pretty big Hawks fan. I’m a fan of their talent, their history and the way they built this team (patience, proper drafting and building slowly). I think it’s unfair to claim Sharp as an expendable piece of the Hawks system.
Did you know Dustin Byfuglien makes $3 Million a season too? His contract is just as long as Patrick Sharp’s.
Ask yourself who’s a more important contributor to the Chicago Blackhawks. Now ask yourself if Sharp is worth the additional $900,000.
I believe Sharp’s a big reason some of Chicago’s younger stars were able to fit in so well and so quickly. He’s a character player with skills and experience players like Toews, Kane and Kris Versteeg can continue to learn from. Sharp is part of the Hawks leadership group and was even mentioned as potential candidate (low probability) for Canada’s 2010 Men’s Olympic hockey team in Vancouver. I can’t remember, but was Byfuglien ever rumored to be Olympic-bound?
I’m not saying the solution to Chicago’s salary cap problems are easy. There are some tough decisions that have to be made and sooner than later. I realize decisions will likely include more than one or two roster players. The reality is if Kane, Toews and Keith are all resigned, their combined ‘at market value’ could cost around ¼ of the NHL salary cap per year.
All that said, I think Sharp is a guy who the Hawks should keep. There are other pieces that are far more expendable in my books than Patrick Sharp. Regardless, it’s clear multiple players will be sitting on the Hawks asteroid when it comes time to make sacrifices… or decisions.
Stay classy, Patrick Sharp.
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