When searching through the trade archives of the Philadelphia Flyers franchise, there are a few transactions that include players that make you go “I forgot he was a Flyer.” Typically, that is because that particular individual was with the club either before he made a name for himself or at the tail-end of his career. In the case of Patrick Sharp, he was a Flyer before his career took off. Of course, we now look back and wish that former General Manager, Bobby Clarke, had a future-seeing crystal ball and thought otherwise when deciding to deal the Winnipeg native.
The Flyers took Sharp in the third round (95th overall) in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. The younger winger then spent time playing college hockey at the University of Vermont before making his National Hockey League debut in the 2003-04 season. That year he split time between the Flyers and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms. Sharp recorded five goals and two assists in 41 games with the Flyers, and 15 goals and 14 assists in 35 games for the Phantoms. The next year, a lockout-shortened season for the NHL, he played the entire year in the AHL posting 23 goals and 29 assists. Additionally, he helped lead the Phantoms to a Calder Cup Championship with 21 points in 21 postseason contests.
Sharp would start the 2005-06 NHL season with the Flyers, posting eight points in 22 games. Unfortunately, he would not make it through the entire year in Philadelphia. On December 5th, 2005, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks, along with Eric Meloche, in exchange for Matt Ellison and a third-round pick in the 2006 draft. The Flyers would then trade that draft pick to the Montreal Canadiens for a third rounder (Jonathan Matsumoto) and a fourth rounder (Jakub Kovar) in 2006. The Canadiens would use the pick acquired by Philly to select Ryan White. Of course, White eventually would play parts of two seasons in Philadelphia.
We do not need to spend too much time going through the pain and anguish that is recapping Sharp’s career after leaving Philadelphia. However, it is important to note that he captured three Stanley Cup Championships as a member of the Blackhawks and has 618 points in his career, which is ongoing.
As we all know, the return the Flyers obtained in this deal does not even come close to what Chicago received. Ellison played a whopping seven games during his one-and-a-half seasons in Philadelphia, recording one assist. Although the orange and black did not draft him, White turned into a serviceable bottom-six forward, energizing teams with his aggressive style of play.
It is always challenging to predict what a young players career will become. It takes a lot of attention to detail and patience to see what an organization has in each member of its roster. Unfortunately, the Flyers gave up on Sharp way too soon, and another team got to reap the rewards of having him apart of their franchise. When you look back at deals such as this one, it is understandable why Ron Hextall is hesitant to part ways with any of his prospects. Sometimes it is just better to hang on to what you have.