When you're trading a player that has the type of longevity and success in his career that Patrick Sharp has had with the Chicago Blackhawks, no return is going to seem like enough. Not only was he a fan favorite, he was a dynamite player for the majority of his decade with the team. Replacing him will be an extremely difficult task, whether on or off the ice. But considering the situation Stan Bowman was facing, with the money Sharp carried, and the fact that he was coming off of a down year, he may have had to settle for a little less than he would have liked.
With the Brandon Saad trade, there was a tremendous positive in the return. The Hawks were able to bring back legitimate NHLers in Artem Anisimov and Marko Dano in the deal, young forwards with high upside. The return for Patrick Sharp could be important, but it's not quite as easy to stomach.
In dealing Sharp and Stephen Johns, the Hawks acquired Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt, two players that we've become relatively accustomed to seeing in recent years in contests against the Dallas Stars. Daley fills the defensive void left by Johnny Oduya, who was waiting for the Blackhawks to clear cap space in order to possibly re-up in Chicago (one has to wonder if Bowman had any communication with his camp before this deal was complete as a courtesy), while Garbutt isn't much more than a physical fourth line presence.
The reaction to Daley has been inherently negative, based purely off of his possession numbers. He did have his best offensive season last year, with 16 goals and 22 assists across 68 games. From the blue line, he's a puck mover and an offensive presence, along with a left-handed shot that could be valuable next to Niklas Hjalmarsson. But, yes, his defensive ability has been suspect in his time with Dallas.
In eight seasons at the NHL level, Daley has fallen on the positive side of Corsi just twice. In 2014-15, his CF% was 46.6 on 47.5% offensive zone starts. His relative Corsi at evens was -8.4. Ultimately, he was one of the worst defensemen in the game last year, if you're looking purely at possession numbers. But we need to consider the rough defensive group that was in Dallas, and the fact that their system is predicated on offense. He'll be entering a different situation with the Blackhawks.
Daley will be transitioning to a system that emphasizes defense more, and he'll likely be lining up next to one of the best defensive defensemen in hockey, in Hjalmarsson. It'll be interesting to see how that shakes out, but one would imagine that this situation will be a bit more favorable for his possession stats. At least that's the hope.
Ryan Garbutt isn't much more than a fourth liner. He doesn't bring tremendous size, at 6'0", 195, and he doesn't play an overwhelmingly physical game, at least as far as the hit numbers are concerned. But he will bring that agitating presence to the mix and will throw down for his teammates if necessary. He also brings a penchant for taking poorly-timed penalties. He is just two years removed from a 17-goal season, so there's something of a positive.
Given his skill set, and the fact that the Hawks will carry a cap hit of only $900k with the Stars eating some of his salary, he could make someone like Andrew Shaw expendable. It'd save a touch over $1 million in space for a player with a similar makeup and skill set, along with that tendency to commit bad penalties at bad times. What seemed like a ludicrous, clickbait-y idea to some 24 hours ago may not be all that far-fetched now.
It's an underwhelming return sure, especially because of the things we've seen Patrick Sharp do in his time with the Blackhawks, in addition to the fact that Stephen Johns looked like a legitimate prospect. But the Hawks got the defenseman that they needed, and perhaps at a lower price than Johnny Oduya, while getting a depth forward that could allow them to free up cash in other areas. Both Daley and Garbutt will have to earn the trust of Joel Quenneville and the Blackhawk faithful alike, but this was another deal where Stan Bowman had to settle, given the situation
We'll see what the GM has up his sleeve next.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.