By Chris Emma–
(CBS) On Dec. 5, 2005, the Blackhawks traded Matt Ellison and a third-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for an unestablished, unproven forward named Patrick Sharp.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Rounding Out The Warmest Weekend Of The Winter
At the time, the Blackhawks were an afterthought of a franchise, and Sharp was just a guy, not a centerpiece of a team. The rest shared between organization and player is history — a remarkable run of success together.
With Sharp in that famed sweater, the Blackhawks became the premier franchise in hockey and a three-time Stanley Cup champion.
Sharp’s time in Chicago came to an end Friday, when he was dealt to Dallas along with defenseman Stephen Johns in exchange for forward Ryan Garbutt and defenseman Trevor Daley. In an attempt to open up cap space while constructing a roster ready to compete for a fourth Stanley Cup since 2010, Chicago general manager Stan Bowman made the necessary move. Off the books goes Sharp’s $5.9 million owed each of the next two seasons.
While the deal needed to be done because of numbers, what Sharp brought to the Blackhawks truly can’t be measured.
“He’s a class act on and off the ice,” Bowman said of Sharp. “We’re going to miss him.”
What’s the price of a championship core in this cap-driven era of hockey? It’s Sharp, Brandon Saad, Nick Leddy, Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd and so many more. To the credit of Bowman, he’s rebuilt the Blackhawks two Stanley Cup teams since he inherited the 2010 title team and its remarkable talent.READ MORE: MISSING: Khoshaba Dikyanos, 84, Last Seen In Lincoln Square
The Blackhawks currently stand as a Cup favorite for the 2015-’16 season, just as long as there’s Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and that special group of talent around them.
Adding to that, Bowman has replenished the Blackhawks with names like Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Daley, Garbutt and plenty of quality depth. It’s a roster ready to compete for another championship.
Essentially, Bowman has worked against the Blackhawks’ salary-cap restrictions by flipping big contracts for low-cost, high-quality depth acquisitions. Then, he turns the roster over to Joel Quenneville, one of the greatest coaches of this era, and lets the team click.
Bowman has three championships to his resume, two of which he rebuilt in summers similar to this. The Blackhawks have been in this position before and gone on to great success. Bowman has earned the belief.
Trading Sharp was an entirely necessary move, one that was long in the works for Bowman and the Blackhawks. In the end, Chicago’s roster remains ready to fight for another hoist of the Cup — that’s what matters the most during this tiresome offseason.
But to reach this point, the Blackhawks had to part with one of their most important players from these three championships. Sharp helped make the organization what it has become.
A lot has changed since Dec. 5, 2005. The Blackhawks owe Sharp a great deal of gratitude.MORE NEWS: Chicago Speed Cameras To Start Issuing $35 Tickets To Drivers Going 6 MPH Over The Limit On Monday
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.