The Chicago Blackhawks cleared enough space in the past couple of offseasons to keep the core of the team together. Now they are locking up those guys, the most recent being Patrick Sharp, who the 'Hawks inked to a five-year extension on Wednesday.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the deal will be for an average salary of $5.9 million. Using quick work of my math skills, that's $29.5 million over the five years.
Sharp is coming off a spectacular season for Chicago, having led the team with 34 goals and chipping in 37 assists in 74 games. The 34 goals were two shy of his career high, set back in 2007-08 with Chicago.
"Patrick is a very important member of our organization and we are looking forward to him being part of a core group that will be a contender for many years to come," Blackhawks Vice President/General Manager Stan Bowman said. "Over the last several years we have seen him develop into one of the game’s elite players as well as a fixture in the community and we are proud to be able to announce this news today."
The extension is a fantastic move by the Blackhawks as Sharp is truly an instrumental piece to their puzzle. The dynamic duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane draws the brunt of spotlight, and rightfully so, but Sharp is as key a piece as either in Chicago. It's hard to call a guy who won the All-Star Game MVP underrated, so we won't, but perhaps he's a little unheralded.
Not that there was any concern the Blackhawks wouldn't keep Sharp around, but it's always nice to get it wrapped up and not have to worry about future negotiations.
Sharp is still scheduled to make $4.2 million next season with a cap hit of $3.9 million, the final year of his previous contract, after which he would have become an unrestricted free agent. The 'Hawks now have themselves a large core under contract to make another run at Lord Stanley's Cup.
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