There were two major concerns held by those who questioned the Chicago Blackhawks signing of Patrick Sharp to a one-year deal on Saturday, bringing back one of the longest-tenured players in franchise history.
First off, Sharp turns 36 this December. And there’s no telling how much his age will affect his performance on the ice.
But Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman met with the media on Saturday afternoon and tried alleviating the second concern: Sharp’s hip injury,
#Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said Patrick Sharp's hip injury "is not a concern for us. He's been on the ice already."— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) July 1, 2017
Taking the cautionary side of that estimate, which feels appropriate considering Sharp’s age, he’d be out until the end of August. Training camp wouldn’t start until September, though, so it doesn’t appear that the rehab process would affect Sharp’s availability for the start of the season. But how much his offseason preparation will be affected by that injury remains to be seen.
There’s also the legitimate concern of how a player on the tail end of his career is going to recover from a significant injury.
As I wrote earlier this week, I wasn’t on board with the Hawks bringing Sharp back, as I thought that ice time would be better served to go to some of the Hawks younger players, allowing them a chance to develop at the NHL level. But there’s no point in complaining now that the deal is official, so let’s go with the positives. Sharp comes at an affordable cap hit, with a base salary of $800,000 and a possible $200,000 that can be earned through bonuses.
We all know what Sharp is capable of when he’s at his best, and I imagine we’ll still see flashes of that old player at times in Chicago. They don’t necessarily need him in a top six role, although I do expect to see him there at times. And in his final days in Chicago, he was quite effective on a third line with Teuvo Teravainen and Antoine Vermette that provided some crucial goals in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
It’s a one-year deal. It’s a low cap hit. It’s a low risk. And the reward could be much higher.
And if I keep typing I just might come around to liking this move.