Chicago Trade Means No Sharp
Well, scratch another player from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ list of potential top-six forwards.
Patrick Sharp is no longer an option for trade with the departures of Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Brent Sopel from the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Hawks now have the cap space necessary (with the anticipated demotion of goaltender Cristobal Huet) to tend offer sheets to their restricted free agents, which means there’s no reason to trade Sharp.
If the unofficial report which suggested Burke had targeted Nathan Horton and Sharp is true, then the Leafs GM may be on the verge of something drastic if he is serious about improving the team’s lackluster offence.
Could that mean a potential trade involving Luke Schenn? The idea is an uncomfortable one, but considering the Leafs have an abundance of defensemen on the back-end, it’s possible Burke pulls the trigger on a blockbuster deal—which he is known for.
As the Entry Draft approaches, it appears Burke’s options to improve upfront, which were limited to begin with, continue to diminish. On the flip side, those who are in favor of unloading Tomas Kaberle will almost surely get their wish. Kaberle remains Burke’s lone bargaining chip (unless he is willing to move Schenn) in his attempt to acquire a top-six forward. Unless Burke has a trick or two up his sleeve, I’d bet he’s changed his stance on potentially retaining the Czech defender.
If Burke doesn’t plan on making a splash in the UFA waters, then one would assume he’s cooking up something big for the draft in Los Angeles this weekend.