The Chicago Blackhawks have already welcomed one of the stars of their Stanley Cup teams back to the Windy City this offseason, and according to a report, they’ll be rolling out the red carpet again.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, there is a very good chance that winger Patrick Sharp will sign with the Blackhawks on Saturday when the NHL’s free agent signing period begins:
The 35-year-old Sharp was traded to the Dallas Stars before the 2015-16 season, and he scored 28 goals and dished out 45 assists in 124 games with the team. Injuries derailed him through much of the 2016-17 season, as he only appeared in 48 games while battling a concussion and hip issues. He scored eight goals for the Stars in those contests.
The reunion with Sharp isn’t particularly surprising, given the Blackhawks’ penchant for bringing back free agents on cheap contracts. They reacquired winger Brandon Saad earlier this month in exchange for Artemi Panarin, and players like Kris Versteeg, Nikolai Khabibulin, and Brian Campbell have all come back to the Blackhawks after being sent away, and with Sharp hitting free agency on Saturday, he will likely sign a cheap deal to take one more run at a Stanley Cup.
The interesting factor with Sharp will certainly be the cost. The Blackhawks are still over the NHL’s salary cap as they wait to see whether or not they’ll be able to put Marian Hossa on Long Term Injured Reserve, but they appear to be set to exceed the cap even more while those discussions take place.
According to NHL rules, the Blackhawks are allowed to exceed the salary cap by 10 percent in the offseason, but they would need to be cap compliant by the first day of the regular season.