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Montreal Canadiens Trade Target: Patrick Sharp
- Updated: June 2, 2015
With one day before the beginning of the Stanley Cup final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s a good time to take a look at one of Marc Bergevin‘s potential trade targets in the off-season. When the new contracts on Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane slated to kick in for the 2015-16 season, the Blackhawks will be in a tight financial situation. As a result, GM Stan Bowman will have to shed salary in order to complete his roster before next season.
Several key players will not be back next season, including UFAs Antoine Vermette, Brad Richards, Daniel Carcillo, Michal Roszival, Kimmo Timonen and Johnny Oduya. Still, even after shedding all that salary, the Hawks still need to re-sign important RFAs, namely Brendan Saad, Marcus Kruger and David Rundblad. This means that the organization will have to cut bait with at least another high-paid player in order to form a competitive roster in 2015-16.
With only three defensemen under contract, it would be very surprising to see Bowman trade one of Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook or Niklas Hjalmarsson to create salary cap space. Up front, the team could trade expensive grinder Bryan Bickell (2 years at $4M left), veteran sniper Patrick Sharp (2 years left at $5.9M) or inconsistent winger Kris Versteeg (1 year left at $2.2M) to make things work.
The player who is most likely to be in Habs’ GM Marc Bergevin’s crosshairs is veteran left winger Patrick Sharp, who is slated to turn 34 in December. The two-way winger, who can also play down the middle if needed, is coming off a disappointing season that was hampered by a knee injury he sustained against the Canadiens on November 4th, 2014.
In 68 games, the right-handed Sharp scored 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points with a -8 differential. A solid two-way player, the native of Winnipeg has recorded 12 points in 17 playoff games heading into the Stanley Cup final. In 2013-14, Sharp had a career-year with Chicago, potting 34 goals and 44 assists for 78 points with a +13 rating in 82 games. Sharp, who has a modified no-trade clause, can submit a list of 10 teams where he would accept to be traded to Bowman within 48 hours of a trade request.
As far as advanced statistics go, Sharp is no slouch either despite a decrease in production this past season.
Sharp, who can also man the point on the man advantage similar to David Krejci in Boston, is the kind of player head coach Michel Therrien loves because he is responsible defensively and he can be used in every situation. Sharp’s acquisition would also allow Therrien to move Alex Galchenyuk to center in order to give the youngster more responsibilities and let him flourish offensively like Tyler Seguin in Dallas with the Stars after he was moved back to center, his natural position, by defensive-minded coach Lindy Ruff.
Now, since the Blackhawks don’t want a high-paid player in return, the Canadiens could offer a high draft pick and a prospect to the Hawks to land Patrick Sharp. For example, the Habs could offer their first round pick in 2015 (26th overall) and a cheap player like RFA Brian Flynn or a second-tier prospect like Tim Bozon or Mark MacMillan.
The Hawks are also looking for depth on defense, mainly a left-handed defenseman with size. Disgruntled rearguard RFA Jarred Tinordi would fit the bill and fill a void on Chicago’s blue line for years to come.
Finally, the major hurdle to a Patrick Sharp trade is the lack of cap space, especially if Marc Bergevin manages to re-sign impending UFA Jeff Petry to a long-term pact. Candidates to be traded include unproductive forward Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and affordable defenseman Tom Gilbert, among others.
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