The NHL rumor mill is churning, and hard. General managers are looking at which players can help their teams now and in the future, determining value and pulling the trigger on what they hope is the steal of the season.
For the actual players involved in those NHL trade deadline whispers, it’s a nerve-wracking time to say the least.
“I remember the feeling as a player when your name gets brought up in a potential trade scenario,” ex-NHLer Patrick Sharp told The Post. “Not cool, you don’t like it.”
“Maybe some guys do, depending on their current situation that they’re in.”
Sharp, a 15-year veteran who won three Stanley Cups with the Chicago Blackhawks, has seen plenty of players come and go, and been a part of two NHL trades himself. The first was as a 24-year-old getting shipped from the Philadelphia Flyers to the Blackhawks, and then a decade later in 2015, going from Chicago to the Dallas Stars.
The NBC Studio analyst is preparing to hit the road again next preseason as part of Kraft Hockeyville, a contest that upgrades a hockey community’s rink and brings an NHL preseason game to town. Sharp and his NBC colleagues will be on-site, as well.
For now, Sharp and and other hockey analysts will be watching the trade block closely, something the four-time 30-goal scorer knows plenty about.
“I loved playing in Philadelphia, was drafted by the Flyers, won a championship in the minors playing with them,” he said. “At that point in my career, I just needed playing time. I was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, who, back in 2005, I don’t think anybody knew who the Chicago Blackhawks were. We were getting 8-or-9,000 people at our games. We’d got a lot of young players in the same situation I was in. From that standpoint, it was good to go get my career underway, individually.”
One decade and three championship rings later, Sharp found himself one of the many salary cap casualties that comes with all the winning. Only this time, he was a veteran, with deeper ties to the community and a family. It was much easier to be a veteran welcoming new players to Chicago than it was to walk into a new city and a locker room.
“A little more difficult at age 35 to go to a new city, new state, set up shop with the wife and kids,” Sharp said, “but I enjoyed my time in Dallas nonetheless. Luckily my two daughters were young enough that it didn’t really impact them quite as much. But at age 35, careers start to wind down. It’s common for players to bounce around, and that can be challenging with a young family.”
Sharp said that thankfully the players on the verge of being dealt are often aware of what’s going on behind the scenes. Contracts have no-movement or limited movement clauses and agents and GMs “have a heads-up on what’s coming.” Fans constantly refreshing their newsfeeds aren’t exactly alone, either.
“The player, I’d like to think, would know before anyone in the media, but who knows?” Sharp said. “With Twitter and how fast information travels these days, players are definitely paying attention to the latest scoops and the gossip. It’s that time of year when I think everyone is paying attention a little bit more.”