The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals may be discussing more than just Patrick Sharp. The Blackhawks have asked the Capitals about veteran forward Joel Ward, according to Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago.
It's not clear whether the talks on Ward were part of the same discussion involving Sharp or part of a separate deal, but that could make some sense from a financial perspective. Sharp's large $5.9 million cap hit would be impossible for Washington to swallow without shipping out some major money, and some of that could come in the form of Ward, who has a $3 million cap hit.
Ward is a big, physical winger who could help Chicago out in front of the net, but the upgrades from Sharp end pretty quickly from there. He's not remotely the potent scorer that Sharp has been in the past, and even in a down season for the Blackhawks star, he's still easily outproducing Ward on the ice.
It's also possible that the 'Hawks and Caps discussed Ward in a separate deal from Sharp, as Chicago still has a few million in available cap space after the Kimmo Timonen trade. Ward could be a relatively affordable rental -- he's a unrestricted free agent this summer -- to help the team out in the wing in Patrick Kane's absence, even if he's not a perfect fit.
Chicago typically targets strong possession players who fit into Joel Quenneville's system, and Ward isn't really that. His possession numbers have regularly been average during his time in D.C., and that's on a team that's generally not been stellar in that area. A career on-ice even-strength Corsi for of 49.7 percent doesn't exactly scream Blackhawks.
Still, the 'Hawks obvously still value physical play to some degree, and that's something Ward, at 6'1 and 225 pounds, could bring to the table. I'm guessing there's not much to see here, but as GM Stan Bowman works the phones, this could be one possibility.