The Chicago Blackhawks came up one goal short of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final and attempting to be the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings pulled off the feat in 1998, and if they’re do get back there next season they could use the help of a dominant second line center like Joe Thornton.
Thornton signed an extension with the San Joe Sharks for three years during the regular season to avoid hitting free agency this offseason, but CSNBayArea is reporting the Sharks could shake up the roster after another playoff disappointment. The Sharks blew a 3-0 series lead against the Los Angeles Kings who won the next four games to eliminate the Sharks who have a history of playoff failures.
If the Sharks move forward with jettisoning Thornton it could be to the Blackhawks in exchange for Patrick Sharp, 32, who led the Blackhawks with 34 goals this season and is signed through the 2016-2017 season with a $5.9 million cap hit.
The Blackhawks don’t have to make a bold move like this and it hasn’t been the style of general manager Stan Bowman during his time in Chicago, but Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times thinks a bold move to acquire Thornton would do the trick to address the team’s ongoing search for a No. 2 center behind Jonathan Toews.
“Maybe Bowman says the heck with it, offers up Patrick Sharp (whose stock never will be higher coming off a career season) and makes a massive deal with the Sharks to bring Joe Thornton to town. That would do the trick.”
This is just the thought of Lazerus who is the team’s beat reporter for the newspaper and not necessarily the line of thought of the club, but it would make sense for both parties if they are thinking big.
Chris Kuc of The Chicago Tribune wrote that Sharp could be the member of the team’s core most likely to be moved if the team is in need of creating cap space. A move for Thornton wouldn’t free up cap space, but it shows that Sharp could be the team with the most value on the trade market and after being moved to the third line in the postseason could be made expendable.
Sharp is a fan favorite and led the team in points last season, but with the emergence of Brandon Saad and the team’s need for a center who could be flanked by Patrick Kane and Saad and you would have a team poised to make another run at hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup next June.