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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Sharp’s resurgence in Dallas didn't last very long, as a concussion and hip injury limited him to 48 unproductive games last year. Even when he was healthy, he looked far more like the player who seemed to be on his last legs in Chicago in 2014-15 than the one who racked up 20 goals and 55 points two years ago. And while the 35-year-old veteran can still contribute in a depth role, he’s not likely to move the needle offensively. Sharp headed back to the Blackhawks in the offseason and might still find himself on one of the top two lines to begin the season due to Marian Hossa’s health issues, but he could easily find himself bumped down the depth chart by a developing youngster like John Hayden.
Two years ago, it looked like Sharp was on the fast track to being washed up, but the move to Dallas from his longtime home in Chicago last year seemed to do the veteran some good – his power-play production rebounded, and he got back to 20 goals and 50-plus points. That’s rather pale compared to the stats we’ve seen from Sharp in the past, but he is in his mid-30s, after all; the man can’t be expected to sip from the fountain of youth. He can, however, be expected to remain a reliable fantasy producer as the right-hand man of top-line superstars Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Unless Valeri Nichushkin experiences a full-bore breakout, no one’s coming to take Sharp’s job as the Stars’ No. 1 right wing, making him one of the safer draft picks around.
Having won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks in the past six years, Sharp should bring a winning attitude to a Dallas team that is gushing with promising young talent. Though he's coming off a down season in which he saw his ice time decline by more than two minutes per game, Sharp recorded at least 33 goals in each of his last three full seasons prior to last year and should fit in nicely in the Stars’ top six ranks and top power-play unit. In addition to playing with big guns Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn on the man advantage, Sharp should give second-line center Jason Spezza a capable sniper to set up, after Ales Hemsky flopped in that capacity last season. At 33 years old, it's fair to wonder if Sharp's 30-goal days are over, but after he racked up 15 points in the playoffs, we're not willing to dismiss a rebound of some extent this season. The move to a new setting and the promise of increased minutes should put Sharp in position to at least find some middle ground between his production of the past two seasons, which would certainly qualify as an upgrade from what the Stars received from their other non-Benn wingers in 2014-15.
Sharp broke out from behind the shadows of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane last season to lead the Blackhawks in several categories, including goals (34), points (78) and shots on goal (313), all of which represented career marks. While Toews and Kane got the headlines, Sharp skated under the radar and finished 12th in points, 10th in goals and 15th in assists in all of the NHL. Opposing teams will surely be ready for him this year. And the addition of Brad Richards along with the growth of some young players like Brandon Saad may make it hard for him to replicate last season's numbers. Still, we'd be happy with 30-plus goals and a point total in the high-60s.
A healthy Sharp will be a big plus for the Hawks in the 2013-14 season. He suffered through an injury-plagued season in 2012-13 and accumulated just six goals and 14 assists in 28 games. But he turned it on in the postseason and led Chicago with 10 goals. He might have to shift to center ice this season if one of the Hawks' youngsters doesn't step up. His production may go down if he has to take on the extra responsibilities that comes with being a pivot, so watch the Hawks carefully during camp to see what transpires.
Last year was another quality season for Sharp who has been as consistent as they come. He had 69 points in 74 games last season compared to 71 points in 74 games during the 2010-11 season. The most impressive statistic was his plus/minus -- he registered a plus-28, the best on the Blackhawks. The versatile Sharp is sure to be one of the top Hawks again this season. Lock him for 30+ goals and 70 points.
One of the better trades that the Blackhawks ever made had Sharp coming from the Flyers during the 2005-06 season in exchange for Matt Ellison and a third-round draft choice. Sharp is fresh off his best season from a statistical standpoint, as he banked 34 goals -- 12 on the power play -- and 37 assists, leading to a five-year contract. But with team success dipping last year, his plus/minus dropped precipitously to minus-1. Even on the heels of a career season, fantasy owners shouldn�t expect Sharp to regress much following his big pay day because he�ll be working with a familiar supporting cast on a scoring line and his versatility is bound to keep him on the ice for close to 20 minutes per game.
Sharp was the subject of trade rumors, though he wasn't ultimately included in Chicago's cap-saving frenzy in the offseason. We applaud the preservation of Sharp's services because he is one of the team's top scorers and still has room to grow. Certainly, as an accurate shooter who tallied 11 goals and assists in the Stanley Cup-winning postseason, Sharp's value is on the rise.
It sounds ridiculous, but at the age of 26, Sharp is one of the elder statesmen of the Hawks' roster. Sharp took advantage of his playing time last year and tallied career highs in goals, assists, plus/minus, power-play goals, and game-winning goals. Look for Sharp to build on the confidence he found last year and parlay his ice time into new career highs this season.
Sharp showed some flashes of potential last season tallying 20 goals and 15 assists in 80 games with Chicago. He might be squeezed to stick on one of the top two lines with all of the changes via free agency and trades, but if he ends up on a scoring line, Sharp has some upside as a sleeper if you can stomach the minus-15 rating in exchange for 40-50 point potential.
The 24-year-old right winger had his biggest year in the NHL last season after being traded from the Flyers to the Hawks. Scored nine of his 14 goals with the Hawks. Overall, he played in 72 games and accumulated 17 assists. Could be helped by the Hawks' acquisitions during the summer to take the pressure off of him to score.