“Patrick is a natural center, not a wing, and we have too many centers,” Hitchcock said. “That’s all this is about. We had too many centers.”
Tallon gladly surrendered a 2006 third-round draft pick and the winger Hitchcock craved – Matt Ellison. Sharp would go on to score a career-high 36 goals from the right wing position in 2007-08 after netting 20 from the wing the previous season in Chicago.
As for Ellison? He played seven total games for the Flyers, notching one assist. He’s now playing in the KHL.
The humorous part of the entire deal remains that Clarke was searching for a versitle player who could play both wing and center and felt Ellison – not Sharp – was the answer.
“We felt that with all the injuries we have had that Matt would bring more versatility to our lineup,” Clarke said. “He can play center and wing. We always felt that Patrick was a better center. We have lots of centers, even though we have some injuries right now. We just felt that Matt was a better fit for our team, although we realize that we gave up a good young player.”
During five-plus seasons in Chicago, Sharp has scored 150 handsome goals with 151 assists while playing at each position. It can be argued he’s flourished more at the center position and likely will be the Blackhawks’ second-line center this season. His two-way play has been noted despite some lapses last season, as he finished fourth in the Selke voting in 2007-08 – as a winger.
The offensive numbers and defensive capabilities Philadelphia sought from their wings could’ve been solved with Sharp, and Tallon saw the potential in him.
Another Flyers’ loss is a Blackhawks’ gain – and a handsome one at that.
Editor/founder of Cheer the Anthem, season ticket holder in Section 326 and full-time sports writer who lists June 9, 2010, as one of the greatest days of his life. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.