Patrick Sharp has been traded to the Dallas Stars for Ryan Garbutt and Trevor Daley.
In a late Friday night move in the second week of July, which is probably the least likely time for something like this to happen, the Dallas Stars made a big move that seems to have the "win now" intention. Their move was trading forward Ryan Garbutt and defenceman Trevor Daley to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Patrick Sharp and prospect defenceman Stephen Johns. Dallas is also retaining half of Garbutt's salary, which is $900K each of the next two seasons.
There was no doubt that the Blackhawks had to move some salary; they were over the cap at the time of the trade, if I recall correctly. Sharp's name was one that had been bandied about all season, and all offseason to this point. The surprising thing about this to me is that not only was Sharp traded within the Conference (though the Phil Kessel trade was the same), but he was traded within the division. As I mentioned with Kessel, this type of trade seems to be more common than in the good ol' days.
The acquisition of Sharp does something for Dallas that they didn't really have last year: what should be two very, very good scoring lines. At times, Jason Spezza was moved to the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in order to get the offence going. Also, Spezza and Ales Hemsky didn't really seem to find their chemistry as they did towards the end of the 2013-2014 season in Ottawa. With the nearly season-long injury to potential star Valeri Nichushkin, the team saw just how quickly the scoring might dry up with an injury or two.
To be sure, Johns being included is pretty much an AHL depth throw-in. This is a guy drafted five years ago who has fewer than 60 games played at the AHL level, and none at the NHL level. There's nothing much to see here.
This isn't a move made to bolster the top line, either. Benn is locked on that top line, and both he and Sharp play the left wing. Sharp is a right-handed shot, but it's kind of the Alex Ovechkin thing where they prefer to play on their off-wing. This is a move to give Spezza a scoring winger.
Sharp had a down year last year with just 16 goals. It was the first time since 2005-2006 that he failed to crack the 20-goal plateau in an 82-game season. He was due for a bounceback regardless as Sharp routinely had a shooting percentage in the double-digits for his career, but shot 7-percent last year. The last time he has a season in that neighbourhood of shooting efficiency, he bounced back with a 34 goal season the next year. He is going into his Age 34 season, but I really do think he wasn't anything other than unlucky.
With Benn and Seguin on the top line, I don't think Sharp plays 19 minutes a game like he nearly averaged the previous two seasons. I think it's more in the 17-18 range, which would lower his upside just a bit. Playing with Spezza, though, in secondary matchups, and likely playing the top power play unit with that powerhouse offence, means very good things for Sharp next year. I would not be surprised at all if he came back next year with a 30-goal, 60-point season. There's upside beyond that, too, provided he stays healthy.
Despite the thought that maybe Garbutt is a growing player, next year is his Age 30 season. He was late arriving to the NHL, and has just 70 points in 198 career games.
Depending where Garbutt slots (I would have to guess the third line), I don't see much changing for him in Chicago. He'll move up and down the lineup, but a 10-goal, 30-point season seems likely. What he can do is provide peripherals; he's managed over two shots per game despite playing under 13 and a half minutes a game over the last two years, and 161 penalty minutes. He's not a guy to get excited about, but in deeper formats, he's most certainly worth a late round pick.
Daley is likely brought in as a replacement to Johnny Oduya, who is still an unrestricted free agent. Daley had a career year last year with 38 points, 11 more than any other season (and he's played 11 seasons). A big chunk of that was until John Klingberg established himself, as Daley had nine points in the first 10 games of the season. Daley also shot an absurd 14.2-percent, which is going to crash big time next year.
Going to Chicago, he won't have an opportunity like in Dallas. With Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook ahead of him on the depth chart, barring injury, he won't have a role like he did with the Stars. I would be surprised if Daley cracks the 30-point plateau next year, which makes him a late-round flier in deeper formats like Garbutt.
This is a salary move by Chicago, and one that helps Dallas immensely. It's hard not to get a bit excited about a top power play unit that would feature Seguin, Benn, Spezza, Sharp, and Klingberg. I may need to fan myself.
*Some stats taken from HockeyDB