The latest rumor running rampant throughout the media is Patrick Sharp is on the trading block.
Sharp’s cap number for the upcoming season is $5.9 million – per Cap Geek - and he might be a luxury the Chicago Blackhawks can no longer afford. Given his high cap number, you would expect Sharp to be one heck of a player, and he is. This last season, he had a career-high in assists (44) and points (78) while scoring 34 goals – according to Hockey-Reference.
Some people will argue that his statistics are inflated, due to playing alongside superstars like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. While this may be partially true, Sharp would be coming to an equally talented core of players in Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin. The difference is that the Penguins truly need a player like Sharp to join their top-six, while the ‘Hawks could still thrive without Sharp in their lineup.
Despite what Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has publicly stated, I think the Penguins still need a top-six forward. According to Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Rutherford does not even think bringing in Malkin’s close friend, Nikolai Kulemin, would help their top-six.
The Penguins are currently in terrible situation salary cap wise, and right now could not afford to bring in Sharp. However, if the Penguins were to trade a player like Paul Martin, who has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $5 million – per Cap Geek - they could more than easily trade for Sharp or a similar talent.
My biggest areas of concern is the Penguins are depending on a brittle player in Beau Bennett and an aging wing in Pascal Dupuis, who is recovering from a major injury to be the dominant top-six they need.
Personally, I do not believe that the Penguins’ top-six forwards is that of a Stanley Cup contending team, and unless Rutherford makes more moves, it might be another heartbreaking season for them.