Take a look at who leads the Chicago Blackhawks in points, and you might be surprised to not see any of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane or Marian Hossa topping the ranks. Instead, you will see Patrick Sharp, a player often left forgotten on a roster with several more celebrated forwards.
Sharp’s 31 goals are the most of any Blackhawk, as are his 73 points. It has been the most productive year of Sharp’s NHL career, edging out 2010-11. His raw corsi stat, an ever-important number on a puck possession team like Chicago, is quite strong, and he compares favorably to teammates as well with a decidedly positive relative corsi.
Playing the vast majority of the year alongside Toews and Hossa certainly hasn’t hurt matters, but Sharp is no mere product of his linemates. His speed on both the forecheck and the rush has been at a different level in 2013-14, and is the biggest reason why he has been able to reach a career-high in points with six games still left in the season.
His game is not perfect, of course; Sharp has continued to display a rather nasty tendency to take selfish, ill-advised penalties, usually in retaliation to something an opponent did that went uncalled. Sharp’s defensive game is also not quite as solid as it used to be, as he will sometimes abandon covering his point man and cheats on breakouts more often than in the past.
On the whole, however, the faults are minimal. Sharp has been a dynamic offensive force in 2013-14, and the Blackhawks will need him to maintain that high level of play if they are to make another deep run in the postseason.