DALLAS -- Patrick Sharp wasn’t a player any of the Dallas Stars enjoyed facing during his 10 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks.
That was particularly true over the past two seasons, when he scored six goals and had nine assists against Dallas in nine regular-season games.
But after a trade with the Blackhawks earlier this month made him their teammate, several Stars were more than happy to welcome Sharp to town.
Captain Jamie Benn was joined by defenseman Jason Demers and forwards Tyler Seguin and Ales Hemsky at American Airlines Center on Monday for Sharp’s introductory press conference. It was obvious they’re excited to play with Sharp, who helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup three times in six seasons.
“A good two-way player. He’s a clear winner,” said Seguin, whose 37 goals led the Stars and were tied for fifth in the NHL last season. “I’ve always been a little bitter towards him since I feel like he stole the Cup from me in Boston [in 2013], but I’m really excited to see what he can do. I know he’s a guy who likes to shoot the puck and he’s a guy that he really seems to find his ways to get open out there.”
Sharp came to Dallas with defense prospect Stephen Johns in the July 10 trade that sent defenseman Trevor Daley, who was the Stars’ longest-tenured player, and forward Ryan Garbutt to Chicago.
Benn, who won the Art Ross Trophy as the League’s top scorer last season (87 points), is looking forward to skating alongside Sharp. He’s equally enthusiastic about the additions of goaltender Antti Niemi and defenseman Johnny Oduya, former teammates of Sharp’s in Chicago.
“It’s exciting. Any chance you get to bring in players like Sharp, Oduya and Niemi, it is going to help your team,” Benn said. “The expectations are high, but it is on us players to handle those expectations and win some hockey games.”
Demers knows what the Stars can expect from Sharp.
“He’s really dynamic offensively. I’ve never really liked playing against him,” Demers said. “He plays hard, he’s not afraid to mix it up either. It’s nice when you have a scorer and an offensive player that has a little bit of an edge and chip on his shoulder. He’s a great player. He’s going to help us immediately, I’m sure of it.”
Hemsky is most excited about the winning pedigree Sharp brings to the Stars, who are looking to become a perennial contender in the Western Conference.
"It’s huge. [Players who have won the Stanley Cup] have the confidence because they went through it,” said Hemsky, who signed with Dallas as a free agent last summer. “There are a lot of ups and downs during the season, but they know how to deal with it and how to help the other players get over those downs. It will be really helpful.”
Stars general manager Jim Nill has made a major trade in three consecutive offseasons after acquiring Sharp from the Blackhawks. In July 2013, Nill acquired Seguin from the Boston Bruins; last summer, he got center Jason Spezza from the Ottawa Senators.
“It’s exciting,” Seguin said. “It’s a great feeling when you see how hard Jim’s working and what he’s bringing to our team and how out of nowhere, no one really sees it coming, but he gets such high-end pieces to add to our organization.
“It’s pretty incredible and it makes you only want to work harder for him and my teammates to just be the best player I can be. If I wasn’t excited already for camp and season, I’m even more now.”