Patrick Sharp leaves Blackhawks to pursue big job in NHL organization

Joshua Deeds
July 10, 2024  (8:25 PM)

Patrick Sharp
Photo credit: TSN

Flyers fans everywhere lament the trade of Patrick Sharp to the Chicago Blackhawks in December of 2005.

Sharp was dealt to the Blackhawks with forward Eric Meloche, in return for Matt Ellison and a 3rd round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft. Sharp wasn't ready to break out yet, but would.

Sharp would break out, but not until he turned 26, when he had his first 30-goal season, posting 36 goals in 2007-2008. He would turn into a key piece for the Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks in 2010. Sharp would also gold medal with Team Canada in 2014, and in 939 NHL games, scoring 287 goals and 337 assists.
He would return to Philadelphia two-decades after leaving, to join the Flyers as special advisor to hockey operations. Sharp was essentially brought back to Philadelphia in an ambiguous role, in order to catch strays like himself, who might fall through the cracks.
«Being the 95th pick overall and turning into the type of player that he did is huge, but what I really focused on was the fact that he was with an organization, and they didn't see it, and they traded him,» Jones said. «It happened to be us.»

Jones continued: «You never want to give up on a player too soon. So having that perspective, I think, is a good reminder to all of us that some of these kids may not be great today, but there may be signals that they're going to be great in the future that we want to be careful not to miss.

Sharp was a vital piece of the Flyers development camp, at age 42 was present daily, on-ice, and doesn't look to have missed a beat. He retired in 2017-2018 at age 36.
«It's really cool to see him out here,» Flyers 2024 first-round pick Jett Luchanko said. «Looks like he could still be playing. You can tell he just loves the game.»

Sharp's role has taken on a way of managing draft talent, as he's located in a central part of the country, in Connecticut, which allows him to travel, meet with draft picks, and even met with Cutter Gauthier multiple times.
«Being around the team, being around the players, being around our younger players. Working with Nick Schultz and Riley Armstrong on the development staff,» Sharp said when asked to explain his job. «Doing what you (saw last week), being out there laughing, joking, and being a hockey player again. I missed that part of it in the six years of retiring from the game. I missed thinking and talking hockey.»

Sharp's found his home talking to players half his age, including Denver Barkey who he feels it's his job to talk shop and relate to the prospects, as a player, as a coach, and as a mentor.
While he enjoyed being on TV, both covering the Blackhawks and on a National scale, he wanted to be home more often and spend more time with his family, one reason to take a step back into a developmental role with the team.
«I think (television) was great for me the first three or four years after retiring. It kept me in the game, fed my ego, got a lot of face time,» Sharp said. «But as the years went on, it became less enjoyable. I loved the people I worked with, both with the Hawks and at NBC. It felt like they were a part of a team. But I missed actually wearing a team logo and working with players and being a part of something.»

It's been a challenge to transition to a front-office job, even though he and Keith Jones are close. It feels awkward, as he spent most of his career with the Blackhawks and has found former teammate Brian Campbell helpful in his new role and a friendly competitor who gives him advice.
«He was doing the TV and I just kind of explained to him how much I'm enjoying being a part of a team now,» Campbell said. «That's why we kept talking about it. I know him inside, and what fuels him and what makes him tick and gets the adrenaline going. I felt that was a natural fit for him to move forward, in the right situation, and doing it the right way.»

Sharp feels really happy and feels the Flyers are close to success, given their current trajectory. He feels like his front-office job has a lot to offer in terms of growth, as he continues to learn. But he is most happiest of all about being part of a team again, feeling competitive, and contributing to the Flyers' success.
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Patrick Sharp leaves Blackhawks to pursue big job in NHL organization

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