The Chicago Blackhawks and center Patrick Sharp have agreed to a five-year contract extension. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, though TSN’s Bob McKenzie said the contract carries an annual cap-hit of $5.9 million. Sharp has another year remaining on his current deal worth $3.9 million. The extension could keep Sharp in the “Windy City” until 2017.
Sharp is coming off a career season, scoring 34 goals and 71 points in 74 games.
“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 deal makes Sharp the third-highest paid player on the Blackhawks, behind Patrick Kane and captain Jonathan Toews at $6.3 million each.
The deal could spell trouble for the Blackhawks after this season, as the organization will have $57 million committed to just 17 players. This year’s salary cap is about $64 million. It’s unlikely the cap will be the same two seasons from now, but even if it increases to $65 million, that leaves the Hawks with about $8 million to sign six players. By then, the new CBA will be in place so its anyone’s guess as to what the salary cap will be, but it isn’t out of the question that Chicago will have to clear some salary similar to last summer, when several players were moved to free cap space.
Several Rangers fans, including Newsday writer Steve Zipay, have been high on Sharp as a player the Rangers could have used prior to the Brad Richards signing. I can’t take anything away from Sharp, but $6 million is a lot for a guy who spends most of his time on the second-line. That’s really the landscape of the today’s league, with guys who don’t put up superstar numbers being paid hefty contracts.