Should the Oilers Consider Patrick Sharp?

With recent news that Oilers Assistant GM Kevin Prendergast has gone on record saying the Oilers expect Dany Heatley to be playing somewhere other than Edmonton next season, we have to wonder where the Oilers go from here.
Whether the comments made by Prendergast are a true indication of how the Edmonton Oilers really feel, or some sneaky side hand action in a very long drawn out poker game; those same comments create speculation among fans and hopefully management about what other options are out there to improve the current roster.
Meanwhile; word seems to be coming out of a few different sources around the NHL, that Patrick Sharp; a gritty two-way but highly offensively skilled forward is the discussion of much trade talk.
Dale Tallon, before his removal as GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, was part of a messy and very public clerical mess that resulted in early contracts being handed out to a number of restricted free agents in Chicago, including Cam Barker and Kris Versteeg. This error, in conjunction with some big off season signings for the Blackhawks -- namely Marian Hossa, John Madden and Tomas Kopecky -- has created a tight and obviously sticky salary cap crunch in Chicago. With Patrick Sharp in the second of a four year $3.9 million per year contract, it seems a bit surprising that the Blackhawks are interested in moving part of their core group or forwards, but makes sense if they see a brighter future in Versteeg.
To this point, San Jose, Montreal, and Toronto all sound rumoured to have interest; but what about the Oilers? Would it be a wise decision to look at someone like Patrick Sharp and try to bring him to "Oil Country?"
Here is what we know.
Since having a slow start in Philadelphia, Sharp has been an offensive threat and one of the great surprises for Chicago since coming over in a trade that sent Matt Ellison and a 3rd round selection back to the Flyers in 2006.
Sharp in reality is a 30 plus goal scoring forward (last year missing 21 games meant he scored only 26, which isn't too shabby), and plays in all situations. In 2007/2008 for example, Sharp shared the NHL lead with seven short-handed markers and paced the Blackhawks with nine power-play strikes, the second-consecutive season he led Chicago in each category. He then led the team with seven game-winning markers, ranked second with a career-best 62 points and fourth with a career-most 26 assists in 80 contests all with a +23 plus/minus rating.
In most cases, Sharp is listed as a centre; however, the Blackhawks website bio has him listed at LW, which we know means he is still extremely productive in that role. Is this not exactly what the Oilers are looking for? A 30 plus goal and 50 plus point LW player who can log or at least share first line duties with a Dustin Penner, kill penalties and be relied on a defensively responsible and gritty player? His $3.9 cap hit isn't low, but it's not extremely high either and he seems by all accounts to be much more consistent than a Dustin Penner who makes $4.25 million per season.
This cap hit seems to be his only true downside when you consider the type of trade required to make a deal like this happen. Chicago is dumping salary if they choose to move Sharp. That means the Oilers would be moving likely no more than $2 million in cap space back.
Nilsson and maybe a draft pick would be the ideal choice, but that could be tricky to convince Chicago to take in return since they'll want more value and Nillson is very one dimensional. What about Moreau who started in Chicago and brings the same type of play without the offensive upside? If no other options exist for the Blackhawks and they want a true leader in the dressing room knowing they lack that with a very young captain in Toews -- perhaps.
If the Oilers can figure out how to not move a lot of salary and fit in Sharp's $3.9 million, it shouldn't take a lot outside of a prospect or two and maybe a draft pick. Chicago created this mess and won't be rewarded for getting themselves out of it, even though Sharp is a good player and would demand fair return./ That said, don't expect Chicago to take fair return to clear up their cap issues.
Now that Heatley is all but dead in the water, it would be nice to have the Oilers at least inquire.


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