Patrick Sharp is Having A Career Year for the Chicago Blackhawks

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Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

In another addition in a series about veterans who might be having the best year of their career, we turn to a man who’s been a major part of the Chicago Blackhawks offense. That man is Patrick Sharp. Sharp is in his eighth year with the Blackhawks after coming over from the Philadelphia Flyers. Sharp has been one of the most important pieces in the Blackhawks’ offense year after year, and and this year with the Olympics coming up, he might even be making a case for a Team Canada spot.

Sharp has been sharpening his skills as a sharpshooter while still looking sharp on and off the ice. Forgive the lame puns, but it was irresistible. Sharp is currently ninth in the NHL in goals with 16. Add 18 assists and he has 34 points for 11th in the league. This comes one year after a 69-point 2013 season. Judging by how well he’s been playing lately, Sharp might be on course to have his best year in terms of points.

Part of the reason he’s having such a good year is where he’s playing. Sharp started out on the second line with Patrick Kane and Michal Handzus before being promoted to the first line next to Jonathan Toews. Since then, Sharp has scored 14 goals and 27 points. He’s second on the team behind Patrick Kane, both since moving up to the first line and in total.

Toews’ ability to keep up with the speed of the wingers has benefited Sharp, as the numbers show. But perhaps the other reason is because of his age. Some players are flash in the pans, others are like fine wine, getting better as they go. Sharp is the latter. Sharp has always been a top-level talent, but the Flyers didn’t think so when they traded him to the Blackhawks. With better players around him, Sharp has blossomed into one of the best wingers in the league. And it wasn’t even until he was 26 that he would represent Canada in international competition.

Speaking of which, there’s definite speculation that he might represent Canada in the upcoming Olympics. If that’s true, it’s a welcome development for Sharp. Being one of the top scorers in the league, Sharp should get some recognition on the international level.

But even if he doesn’t, Sharp will continue scoring goals and ending up on the naughty lists of many NHL goalies. Sharp’s long-term growth is finally paying off and now he’s having a year he should be proud of. His skill on the wings will be vital for the Blackhawks as they look to repeat for the Stanley Cup championship.

Paul Chancey is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ChanceyPaul and add him to your network at Google+.

See if Sharp can continue to play at an elite level the rest of the year as Chicago looks to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions. Find the best deals on Blackhawks tickets all season long here.

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