Patrick Sharp may have played his last game in Victory Green on Friday night. The morning after the Dallas Stars’ 6-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, the team announced that he would bow out for the rest of 2016-17 to undergo hip surgery, scheduled for Tuesday.
Reportedly, Sharp has been troubled for months by the issue, but he played through as the team struggled to fulfill its faint playoff hopes. It was generally assumed that the veteran forward, as a pending UFA with a high-value résumé, would be moved to a Stanley Cup-contending team before the 2017 NHL trade deadline. On March 1, GM Jim Nill revealed that Sharp was not healthy enough to be traded due to the hip injury.
Now that mathematical elimination is imminent, he will step aside for the Stars’ remaining games to begin the four-to-five-month repair and recovery process:
"It gets to a point where it affects your play, and you're not helping the team as much as you probably would if you were healthy," Sharp said. "It's tough to make that decision to sit out and get healthy, but I think it is the right thing to do."
Sharp has already missed 26 games this season due to concussion issues. He’s also faced difficulties off the ice; his father is fighting leukemia. For his determination in the face of these challenges, the Dallas Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association has nominated Sharp as the Stars candidate for the 2016-17 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” It is, of course, named for the late Minnesota North Stars player whose number 19 hangs in the rafters at American Airlines Center.
With Sharp out for the season and forward Jiri Hudler dealing with a lower-body injury, prospect forward Jason Dickinson has been recalled from the Texas Stars. The 2013 first-rounder ranks sixth on the T-Stars in scoring this season, with 30 points (nine goals, 21 assists) in 55 games.
As for Sharp’s future, Nill says they’re already talking about it:
"We are going to get the surgery done and let him heal. He's going to train and let's take a look at him," Nill said. "We've had conversations. If he comes back, he wants it to be Dallas. He thinks he's a Dallas Star."
Mark Stepneski has the full story. [Stars Inside Edge]