FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Stars forward Patrick Sharp wasn't traded before the NHL Trade Deadline on Wednesday because of an unspecified injury and will eventually need season-ending surgery, general manager Jim Nill said Wednesday.
"He's going to keep playing here as long as he can," Nill said. "We're going to monitor it game by game. Then we'll make the decision, and that's why he was not traded."
Nill said he wouldn't reveal details of the injury, the existence of which the Stars confirmed Tuesday, until after Sharp has surgery. Nill said it was something he was open about with teams that inquired about trading for the forward, who is in his 14th NHL season and has won the Stanley Cup three times.
"When teams called, I told them right away that he was injured," Nill said. "You can't trade an injured player, and I was very up front with teams. Other teams are trying to plan their moves to, so it was important for them to know he was off the table."
Video: DAL@NSH: Sharp sweeps a rebound into the cage for PPG
The Stars were hopeful the injury would get better, but Nill said it eventually became clear Sharp was no longer a trade piece. He has not missed a game since Dec. 31.
"We were monitoring the injury and it started to get worse and worse," Nill said. "I finally knew he wouldn't be eligible to play past a certain time."
Sharp, 35, has 15 points in 37 games this season, and Nill said he is part of a potential Stanley Cup Playoff push. Dallas, which traded defensemen Jordie Benn and Johnny Oduya and forwards Patrick Eaves and Lauri Korpikoski before the deadline, is seven points behind the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card from the Western Conference.
Nill said the Stars will be relying heavily on younger players and will take advantage of the four non-emergency call-ups allowed from the American Hockey League after the trade deadline.
"We're going to start getting our team settled back up and then we'll see," Nill said. "Now to the end of the season it's a chance to see these young players. We have to make decisions, once again on expansion drafts, see where these players fit in. It's a great opportunity for them to make that next move because we have to make some decisions for next year also."
Nill said forward Ales Hemsky could return Thursday from hip surgery to play against the New York Islanders at American Airlines Center (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, MSG+2, NHL.TV). Hemsky has not played since a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Oct. 22, his only NHL game this season.