Oilers Should Keep Close Eye On Patrick Sharp This Saturday

The Chicago Blackhawks roll into town the hottest team in the NHL, having won five straight. Not good news if you're an Oiler fan.

Saturdays this season have already been unkind to the Oilers and the Blackhawks are loaded with talent, who each and every game are trying to make it their best game. After all, three of the biggest pieces of Chicago's puzzle are mere moments from obtaining contracts that will set them up for life.

Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith are all rumored to be close to signing extensions with the Blackhawk organization. The only thing keeping them from getting this done? Tagging room under next years salary cap.

Bob McKenzie did a nice piece on tagging room on his latest TSN blog. Effectively, the Blackhawks need to clear enough space to fit under the allowable level of salary committed to next season.

While it's near impossible to tell what this means in terms of decisions coming forward for the Blackhawks, the wide assumption is that salary will be trimmed and players like Cam Barker, Brent Sopel and possibly Patrick Sharp could be casulaties of having to live by the salary cap guidelines.

Of those three, Patrick Sharp may be the one player Chicago would least like to move, but if I'm the Oilers, perhaps I'm putting together an offer that Chicago simply can't ignore.

Patrick Sharp is exactly what this Edmonton team needs. A strong, gritty faceoff center, who just so happens to have 18 points in 20 games. He plays short-handed, he plays powerplays, he's not afraid to get dirty and he's fast. In short, Sharp's that non-superstar, hole-filling player fans have been begging the Oilers to go after for years.

On a list of players the likes of Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Ducan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Kris Versteeg and others; Patrick Sharp, who would rank amazingly high on almost any other team, seems like a possible odd-man out in Chicago. It sounds odd to say of a player producing at the rate Sharp is, but it may be accurate.

All that said, Tambellini seems to have a knack for missing opportunities.

See signing Malhotra or Prospal, but letting go of Glencross and Reasoner.

I don't assume, that should an opporunity for Tambellini to make a viable offer on a player like Sharp exist, and in a time of minor crisis for the Blackhawks, that much will come of this. If we're lucky, perhaps Sharp plays too well for Tambellini to ignore.

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