Patrick Sharp agrees to terms with the Hawks: Player Eval

Patrick Sharp agrees to terms with the Hawks: Player Eval

What a great time to sit back and evaluate Mr. Sharp. As of now, Patrick will be a Hawk for the next 6 seasons earning somewhere around $5.9 mil a year starting in the 2012-13 season. You might be doing a double take after noticing that price-tag, I sure did until remembering just what Sharp means to this team. No, Im not just talking about the handsome good looks he brings to the bench. Sharp is the real deal, the all around deal and one of the most vital components of the "core" we love talking so much about.

After coming down hard on Mr. Hossa a few days ago, I feel less judgmental when Sharp is the one on the chopping block. Since his acquisition in 2005, Sharpie has been a personal favorite of mine. First I noticed his speed, and then his overall contribution to the teams play, both offensively and defensively. Since that deal which was a huge win for Hawk's fans everywhere, because it came at little cost to the organization, Sharp has been seen as a defensive force, physical beyond his appearance, a sharp-shooter for the offense, and a special teams wizard playing in both rolls as a PP and Pk player.

After much of the talent which brought the Cup home to Chicago was lost to cap space, Sharp was one of the "core" players who stepped their game up to answer the missing scoring power. He also found himself in a new position at center and still performed admirably in that vacant whole. As mentioned in the last post about Hossa, if not for he and Sharp, the Hawks would have produced an embarrassing amount of goose eggs early on in the season. In a year that saw him shuffled around from line to line, even positions and on a team with a severely lacking chemistry, Sharp still produced a personal high in points and lead the Hawks in scoring.

What is not to love about this guy? One could make the obvious point and send us to a quick view of Sharp's +/- of negative 1. A huge downfall of his past year. This could be attributed to his offensive hike or maybe even his shifting of positions. Who knows what Q was telling Sharp to be worried about. It is nonetheless, a heavy mark against his performance last year. However, in the end, Sharp produced 12 power-play goals while mostly in the completely new position of playing the point.

Besides the +/-, one could also point to the drought that Sharp felt during the stretch of season when the Hawks needed scoring the most. Easily on his way to topping the 40-50 goal marker after October was said and done, Sharp hit a rough patch later on and when the Hawks were reaching for a necessary playoff birth to avoid the humiliation of not making the extended season the year after hoisting the Cup. Thankfully, the Hawks lucked out and Sharp finished 8th in the league for goals with 34. No harm, no foul right?

Right. What negates that argument for me is how well Sharp played when on a consistent line as a winger, and his overall performance in the 7 game playoffs. In the year prior, Sharp was an easy argument for the MVP of the playoffs behind Toews, proving that his skill set carries well into a prolonged season. When on a line with Kane and Toews, the three shined brilliantly and offered much more than opponents could handle. I noticed a huge shift in Sharp's defensive positioning when in this line combo.

A very specific moment in time is called to my mind about Sharp: Does anyone else remember when they faced the Bruins late in the season and Sharp took it upon himself to make the best defenseman in the league (Chara's) life miserable? I sure as hell remember Sharp taking Chara into the corner and getting the best of him physically and mentally. Not an easy accomplishment by any means.

This point leads to the statement that Sharp is irreplaceable. He has just too many skills in so many different areas of play. He has proven that he can do it all and look good while doing it. I mean in his skating style of course. It is entertaining to watch Sharp play, with his sharp-shooting, killer instincts, and his new contract simply reflects SB's conclusion of the same. As if Stan hasn't commented enough about how much he respects Patrick as a player?

Final grade: A, with the hopes that he elevates his game even further, because remember that for this season, and the ones before that, Sharp was and is for the time being a steal at his price tag. In my book, playing that kind of hockey at that wage is worthy of an A, and also worthy of a raise, which he now has. Whether it was a bit higher than anticipated is another story, but try to find someone out there who offers as much for less money.

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  • HH,

    I only see the games on tv and my take on Sharp is s bit different than yours.

    First, I like Patrick Sharp for what he brings to the team and am glad he's locked up, but, like Hossa, he is a tad streaky. Yes, he's fast, can put the biscuit in the basket, and is quite versatile. His leadership ability is obvious as well and he seems to do well with whomever flanks hims. Good team guy, yes. What's not to like about PS?

    I don't see Sharp as a physical player at all, in fact total finesse comes to mind. He's an opportunist who knows where to be offensively and while Denis Savard was the coach he was a real force on the PK but that seems to have changed with Q's arrival. Good defensively is not one of the things I'd put on his resumé. He's ok at best.

    A good but not great player in my books. I wonder if 5.9 per is overpayment?

    Grade for last year: Nobody except perhaps Crawford deserves an A. I'll give him a B-. He can be better defensively 5 on 5 and on the PK. I don't expect physical play from him. Hopefully he settles into a position and sticks this year—though we all know that's not likely.

  • Contextually, I think there are some things that make Sharp worth that money. First off, I think he was underpaid for the past couple years and I don't mind seeing him get a little love now. Secondly, with the cap going up again this year, it is what it is. Without the cap raise, I think he takes less money. This may be heresy, but there have been times I thought Sharp should be part of a trade package for a legit second line center. But I have absolutely zero complaints with locking him up at that figure.

    I don't know if Sharp is irreplaceable, but he has undoubtedly made himself more valuable to the team then guys who have left this summer. I think Sharp is a very good free lancer and is always dangerous when he's on the ice. But, with him locked up now, I think this arguably gives Q a locked up center and wing for lines 1-3 and the ability to really start locking in a style of play or system. I've been sitting here a while now trying to find a wrap up comment and that's making me think I probably take Sharp and his skill set for granted.

  • I most definitely may be biased towards rating Sharp's contributions to the team. As I mentioned, his being a part of the team for longer than most adds a sense of respect to his being a Hawk.

    Without a doubt, I see a bloated contract. He is now the 3rd highest payed Hawk behind Toews and Kane. Toews deserves to be the highest payed, but I could argue that Sharp is more important to the Hawks than Kane.

    Sharp might not be an outright physical player as Fourfeather argues, but I do see a guy who can battle hard in the corners and usually end up with the puck. I have also seen him deliver some big hits. He is very solid on his skates and that brings a good punch to his overall game. And, I would put that he is defensively strong on his resume. Maybe not so much last year, but I think he was playing the game that he was being told. In the past, he relied on his defensive game much more, which was played very effectively.

    Again, the worth of Sharp is found in his versatility. He has proven effective in many different roles. He is extremely quick and has a lethal one-timer and with a great sense of the ice. He can be the guy starting the play, or the one finishing.

    With his new contract, I expect him to step his game up, but based on last year's, he played above it.

    I could agree with a grade in the B range, but I feel that whatever success the Hawks did have this year was related to Sharp's contribution.

  • Fact is, Sharp is vital cog in the "one goal" machine, There's no getting around that. As Vegas so aptly said, it is not hard to take him for granted.
    Sharp is a Blackhawk, and it would be hard to visualize him anywhere but Chicago. SB should take a well-deserved break about now. If the core continues to develop or even produce the way they have been—wow! Lots to look forward to.

  • Agreed.

  • Had some Aurellio's pizza for dinner after work. Kinda nice to have a little taste of home. Following up FF's comment, Toews and Kane are still not at their primes and in just those two alone, it would seem there is a lot of upside. With four of the top six absolutely locked up, I am also excited to think about that core getting better. From here on out, I don't see another capocalypse happening and there should be a ton of continuity year after year now for several seasons.

    So what's everyone else done with summer so far? I spent a ton of money on a pair of skates that I really dig and I'm heading up to Reno next week to see family and hang out. Went on a long ass hike up to Mt. Charleston and am stunned there is that much wilderness space so close to Vegas. For us out of towners, I say we get some tickets to Chi and show up at HH's crib at 2 in the morning! Any takers?

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