Regardless of when it took place and where he was sent and who was acquired in exchange, the Patrick Sharp trade was never going to be easy to stomach. Coming into the offseason, we all knew a trade was coming. Even after Brandon Saad was traded to Columbus and that glimmer of hope that Sharp could remain in Chicago presented itself, it was always a foregone conclusion that he'd be donning a new sweater by next season.
Unfortunately, that sweater is that of the division 'rival' Dallas Stars. So while Patrick Sharp is gone, we'll have the pleasure of seeing his handsome face on six different occasions next year. But while Sharp is now taking his talents to Big D, it isn't likely that we'll forget his contributions to this organization anytime soon. Nor should we. Patrick Sharp was an all-time member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Sharp was acquired by the Blackhawks in what has become one of the more well known trades in NHL history, simply because they ended up fleecing the Philadelphia Flyers in sending Matt Ellison and a third round pick in exchange for Sharp and Eric Meloche. The Flyers ended up sending that third round pick onto the Montreal Canadiens, making the only real player of consequence in the trade Patrick Sharp himself.
And what a player he was for the Blackhawks.
Sharp, of course, arrived right as the Blackhawks were heading into their renaissance that has seen them win three Stanley Cup titles in six seasons. He combined for 56 goals in his first two seasons with the Hawks, as they demonstrated marked improvement, including a 40-34-8 finish in 2007-08, though it obviously wasn't until '08-'09 that they were able to get over that hump and break into the postseason.
It was in 2008-09 that the Blackhawks began to demonstrate their arrival as a real threat in the NHL. In what wasn't likely a coincidence, Sharp was given the 'A' before the season, a role which he hung onto and thrived in until his trade on Friday. During the Hawks' surprising Western Conference Final run, Sharp accounted for 11 points (7 G, 4 A) in his 17 games.
Sharp was a key contributor during the 2009-10 Stanley Cup run, finishing with 22 points in 22 games, good for third on the team, behind only Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. His 11 goals were tied with Dustin Byfuglien for the most on the team, with one accounting for the game-winner.
After a 71-point campaign in the following year, which marked a career high at that point, Sharp earned that contract extension that he carries into today, at five-years and $29.5 million. From 2010 to 2014, Patrick Sharp accounted for 107 goals, including a career best 34 in 2013-14. That season saw him post a career high in assists and points as well, at 44 and 78, respectively.
When we total everything up, Patrick Sharp racked up 679 appearances for the Blackhawks. He scored 239 goals over that span to go along with 272 assists, for a point total of 511. He made four All-Star Game appearances with the Blackhawks, one of which (2011-12) saw him take home the ASG MVP. In five of those seasons, he garnered votes for the Selke Trophy, with votes for the Hart in that brilliant 2013-14 season, and some Lady Byng votes in 2014-15.
His career, from an individual standpoint, didn't have the most notable end in Chicago. Shooting percentages be damned, he scored just 16 goals across 68 games last year and had a very quiet postseason as a followup. But regardless of the individual outcome, he was still a centerpiece on a Stanley Cup winning team for the third time in his career, hoisting the Cup each time with the 'A' on his chest.
And that is how Patrick Sharp will be remembered. At 33, it remains to be seen how much longer he'll play in the NHL, with 13 years in the league under his belt to date. Regardless, there will be a time in the coming years where Patrick Sharp finds himself back at the United Center, not as a visitor, but a member of the Blackhawks organization once again. As not only a member of the team that helped this organization to emerge from the hellish nightmare that they had become, but a key piece and a leader on these teams, Patrick Sharp is an all-time Blackhawk.
He could see his number hoisted up into the rafters as a result. He's certainly deserving. But whether or not that happens, Sharp is a guy that will be back and will be remembered and appreciated, not only for his sensational looks, but what he has brought to this team in his decade in Chicago. He's gone for now, and it'll likely hurt to see him sporting a new sweater in 2015-16 and beyond, but he'll be back. And Blackhawks fans can take solace in that.
(And three Stanley Cup wins)
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.