Photo: USA Today
33-year-old Patrick Sharp just won his third Stanley Cup in six years with the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s also likely won something else: a permanent trip to another team this summer.
Tuesday night, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun went on Montreal’s TSN 690 and had a discussion about the Blackhawks and their difficult cap situation. According to ESPN, the team has a little more than $66 million committed to 13 players next year. That includes the first year of identical eight-year, $84 million contract extensions for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
With next year’s cap expected to be $71 million, the Hawks have little wiggle room to fill out the roster, especially because they want to re-sign restricted free agent forward Brandon Saad. Moving Sharp would free up $5.9 million the Hawks could spend elsewhere. LeBrun believes Chicago will shop Sharp during the offseason and he could end up on the Washington Capitals.
With just a few days left before a trade deadline, managers around the NHL are comparing their teams to the rest of the league and looking for the pieces needed for a playoff run. With the new playoff format, it’s especially important to overmatch the division rivals you are likely to face early in the postseason.
The Caps, despite sitting just fourth in the Metropolitan division, keep up with the teams above them in most statistical categories. But there is one area in which they are struggling: the second line.
Photo: Chicago Blackhawks
Source: #Blackhawks and Capitals have had dialogue about possible trade involving Patrick Sharp.
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) February 28, 2015
Photo credit: Greg Fiume
The hard part is over. Mathieu Perreault led the Capitals with five points in four preseason games and snatched the final roster spot from favorites Cody Eakin and Mattias Sjogren.
Last season he showed the ability to drive puck possession, finishing with the fourth best Corsi relative to the competition on the team, behind only Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alexander Semin.
Consistency, however, was a bigger issue. He earned all fourteen of his points in just nine of his 35 games played and wasn’t able to claim a center spot that was up for grabs.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Over the summer, General Manager George McPhee started snatching players like a rabid mom snatching groceries on Supermarket Sweeps. In are gritty NHL veterans like Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, and Jeff Halpern. Out are fan-favorites like Matt Bradley and Boyd Gordon.
Beyond the discounted signing of Tomas Vokoun, there may have been no better addition to the line-up than the Draft-night trade McPhee swung with the Chicago Blackhawks in which he landed Troy Brouwer for a first-round pick. Brouwer, who signed an affordable two-year deal worth $2,350,000 per year on July 6, was part of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup Champion squad and is known in part for his physical, hard-hitting game. The 26-year-old right wing has also been a proven scorer at every level he’s played, tallying 20 goals in the NHL, 40-plus goals in the AHL, and 100-plus points in Juniors.
So with Opening Night only a few days away, what can Caps fans reasonably expect offensively from Brouwer? Also, how about some bizarre facts about Troy that only RMNB can dig up? Follow me past the jump to find out.
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