[Editor’s note: Literally this is the worst season. It’s like the Dallas area used up every ounce of sports gods’ good will to allow the Cowboys to win their division only to make an early exit in the playoffs....
News has come out right at the time of publish of this article that Patrick Sharp is going to be evaluated after tonight’s game for a nagging injury he’s been playing through. If he is injured, chances are Dallas will be unable to trade him before the deadline. Or, the return will be lessened because of the risk he will not be able to be healthy for the playoffs for the acquiring teams.
@FriedgeHNIC possible he wont be traded as a result. Jim Nill declined to discuss specifics, but word is he's been honest with other teams— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 28, 2017
As we wait for the inevitable sale of unrestricted free agents in Dallas, we look at some of the teams said to be inquiring about Patrick Sharp’s services.
Sharp is possibly one of the best winger options on the market now. He has offensive capabilities, a Stanley Cup winning pedigree, and versatility. He’s played up and down the Stars lineup and tends to make his teammates better, often being used as a kick-starter by head coach Lindy Ruff.
So who would be best served by acquiring the skilled forward at the trade deadline this season?
They’re sitting right on the outside of the playoff picture in the West. They shored up their goaltending by trading for Ben Bishop to make the push into the last of the two Wild Card spots. Compared to all teams in the playoffs, Los Angeles would have the lowest goals for total (154). Jeff Carter seems to be the only guy consistently potting goals for the Kings and could use some help.
That’s where Patrick Sharp comes in. Los Angeles could make the acquisition of Sharp possible if they include a roster player coming back Dallas’ way or if Dallas retains some salary on Sharp’s deal for the rest of the season. With Sharp hitting unrestricted free agency this summer, and the Stars sitting with plenty of cap space, it wouldn’t hurt them to keep part of his salary the remainder of the season and see it come off the books next year.
Because Dallasites like making friends, and the Stars have already given the Canadiens one player off their roster, why not complete the Texas Two-Step?
Montreal is similar to Los Angeles in terms of cap space. To make Sharp’s hit fit under the cap they’d likely have to move some salary or Dallas would have to retain some. (This is a common refrain and probably won’t be the last you see it said here.) Montreal doesn’t have many draft picks left this summer to sweeten the deal in exchange for Dallas retaining salary, so it’s likely to be a straight roster-player-for-roster-player swap if the Stars and Canadiens make a trade involving Sharp.
In case you missed the underlying message with Washington’s acquisition of defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk last night, the Capitals are all-in this year. They haven’t been better positioned to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup in several years, and with core guys like Alex Ovechkin getting older and their prime years closing, it makes sense for them to mortgage the farm for today.
The Capitals don’t have an issue scoring goals. They have the best goal differential in the league, though they’re behind Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers in total goals scored so far this season. The acquisition of Sharp would really be a depth shoring move for Washington, giving them another option on special teams. With Andre Burakovsky on IR right now, and Sharp’s versatility, the move would make a lot of sense for the Capitals.
The salary cap is the big question mark here. They’re already up against the cap, so salary would have to come back in a roster player traded to Dallas to make the move work, even with Dallas retaining salary. Washington seems the least likely out of the three to make a play for Sharp.
Then again, it is silly season. Anything is possible.