This trade must sting for Chicago Blackhawks fans. We all knew of their salary cap woes, but it was thought that the team would trade off older or less important players. Nobody thought the team would trade 22-year-old Brandon Saad! But it’s done and unless anyone has access to a time machine, Saad is going to be a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
So, while I can talk about how befuddled I am about the decision, I would rather discuss what this trade means for good ol’ Patrick Sharp.
"In dealing Saad, the Blackhawks still are not in the clear relative to the salary cap. It remains likely that Patrick Sharp will be dealt, and his agent, Rick Curran, acknowledged as much Tuesday.The Blackhawks are looking for a young and cheap puck-moving defenseman, and Derrick Pouliot fits that profile. But two of the last things Chicago can do include taking large veteran contracts and retaining some of Sharp’s salary. —Trib Total Media"
Really, this trade might not save Sharp. We originally thought it was an either or type situation (keep Sharp or keep Saad, or trade Sharp and keep Saad) but things aren’t so black and white. Sharp’s name is still being thrown around and other teams are still interested in acquiring the left winger. There is still a good chance he will be traded.
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What have the Blackhawks done to themselves? I feel like I am going to start confusing Stan Bowman with Don Sweeney—trading away every day players. Bowman did get a decent return for Saad, with Artem Anisimov and Marko Dano being the top two players the team got, but he’s starting to strip away his Stanley Cup-winning team.
Yes, I understand the cap issues are really weighing down his options and that there was a good chance the Blackhawks were going to lose Saad to an offer sheet situation, but it looks as if the Blackhawks aren’t done making moves. This may only be the beginning.
Could Sharp stay? Yes, the Blackhawks could probably maneuver things around to keep him. But if they didn’t think it was worth the money, years, effort or whatever the deal breaker was for Saad than I don’t see the team really going out of its way to save a 33-year-old that is past his prime and will likely not offer the Blackhawks anything they haven’t seen before.
Trading Sharp will alleviate more cap issues, even though the team may have to retain part of his salary. And if teams really want him, he is very talented and is still a highly skilled forward, the Blackhawks will be able to get multiple players, picks or prospects in return to fill the void.
I knew the Blackhawks were going to look different next season, but I thought either Saad or Sharp would still be a part of that team. Now, it looks like both will take their talents elsewhere. What a shame for Chicago fans, and what a gain for the Columbus Blue Jackets and for whatever team ends up picking up Sharp.
It really only seems like a matter of time before the news of the Sharp trade breaks. Who gets him?
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