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Blackhawks trade Patrick Sharp, Stephen Johns to Dallas Stars

Chicago acquires forward Ryan Garbutt and defenseman Trevor Daley.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks have traded 33-year-old winger Patrick Sharp and defenseman Stephen Johns to the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Ryan Garbutt and defenseman Trevor Daley.

Garbutt, 29, scored eight goals and tallied 17 assists in 67 games for the Stars last season. Daley, 31, recorded career highs with 16 goals, 22 assists and 38 points in 68 regular-season games.

Sharp was acquired by the Blackhawks in 2005 as part of a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers. He was a central figure during the franchise's rise to prominence over the past decade and has regularly been one of the most productive forwards in the league. As a member of the team, he recorded 239 goals and 511 points in 679 regular season games, and 42 goals and 80 points in 117 playoff games.

The forward's speed, versatility and elite-level shot generation made him a valuable player to the Blackhawks, even though he never attracted the national attention of franchise players Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews. He was a vital member of the team's core through nine full seasons and seven playoff runs, including five Western Conference Final appearances and three Stanley Cup wins, and was an alternate captain for most of his tenure after receiving an "A" in 2008. He was also a fan favorite.

An expensive contract and declining production made him an obvious trade target this offseason, however, and now the team has pulled the trigger. Sharp's $5.9 million cap hit through the 2016-17 season was too much for the Hawks to swallow even after trading Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets. With that money off the books, the team's financial situation entering next season becomes much more palatable even if the cupboard is a bit more bare.

During the 2014-15 season, Sharp had 16 goals and 43 points in 68 games played, but this was while often playing in a depth role, sometimes on the right wing instead of his preferred left. Even if he's a long shot to score 30 goals again, he is likely to regain some of his production next season, and have several more years as a productive offensive player. During the postseason, he had 15 points, mostly alongside Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen.

That's why the team could shed his $5.9 million cap hit -- something that still hasn't happened with Bryan Bickell's and his $4 million -- and get something in return. Now the Blackhawks just need to figure out how to replace all this production while hopefully shifting a bit more money.

While it’s saddening to see such a long-time member of the team leave, this is the unfortunate reality of the salary-capped NHL. To have retained their core players for as long as they did is an achievement for the Blackhawks. And Sharp got to go out on a high note, as one of only eight active players to have won three Stanley Cups.