CHICAGO -- Patrick Sharp was traded by the Chicago Blackhawks to the Dallas Stars on Friday.
Chicago received defenseman Trevor Daley and forward Ryan Garbutt for Sharp and prospect defenseman Stephen Johns.
"We thought it was important to acquire some ready-made NHL players," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "Obviously it's difficult trading away an established player like Patrick Sharp, and a very good young player in Stephen Johns who's got a nice career ahead of him, but we felt that we wanted to continue to add pieces that can contribute to our team next season, and we're excited for that."
Left Wing - DAL
GOALS: 249 | ASST: 277 | PTS: 526
Sharp, part of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2010, 2013 and last season, was traded in part to free space under the NHL salary cap. The 33-year-old has two years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5.9 million, according to war-on-ice.com.
"I think the primary emphasis in this is more of an old-fashioned hockey trade," Bowman said. "Sometimes when you make trades of players who make a lot of money you're just trying to get draft picks or prospects back. The key thing for us was try to make our team better in the process.
"You're obviously trading away a good player, but it wasn't just trying to get things that would help us down the road. We like our team as it is right now, and we think we've got a very strong group of guys coming back, that led us to the Cup just a month ago, so that was really the thing that we talked about when we were in discussions with Dallas, was trying to get something that could help us right now.
"So we did clear some salary-cap space in the process, which is a positive, so I think from that perspective it would serve a dual-purpose move."
Dallas is retaining half of Garbutt's $1.8 million cap charge, Bowman said. Daley has two years remaining at an annual value of $3.3 million.
Bowman said there were "countless phone calls over the past three weeks trying to find the right deal." He said it was difficult because teams may be under the salary cap of $71.4 million but have an internal budget that doesn't allow them to spend to the limit.
Bowman said he wasn't hesitant about trading Sharp to another Central Division team.
"That cuts both ways," Bowman said. "Dallas is trading us two players off their team that they're going to have to play against. … You have to do what's best for you team and not be as fixated on where they're going; you have to look at, does this makes sense for your team."
Daley, 31, had NHL career highs with 16 goals, 22 assists and 38 points in 68 regular-season games last season. He has 231 points (67 goals) in 756 regular-season games over 11 seasons with Dallas, which selected him in the second round (No. 43) of the 2002 NHL Draft.
"He had his best offensive season last year with 16 goals, which is a lot for a defenseman," Bowman said. "He scored his last two years in Dallas, I think nine goals and 16 goals, so he's certainly on an uptick with his offensive game, and I think certainly in today's game, having somebody from the back end that can score at that rate is a nice weapon to have."
Garbutt, 29, had 25 points (eight goals) in 67 games last season; he has 70 points (30 goals) in 198 NHL games, all with Dallas, who signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He had 106 penalty minutes in 2013-14, and two shorthanded goals.
"[He's a guy] you hate playing against him, but you like having a guy like him on you team," Bowman said. "He certainly can agitate with the best of them, he's got great speed as well. He's a versatile player, a good role player, and we expect him to be a contributor. A couple years ago he had a big offensive year (17 goals), so we know he can score goals, and he can play on a checking line or [provide] some offense as well."
Bowman said acquiring Daley and Garbutt would not necessarily prevent or discourage the Blackhawks from re-signing free agent defenseman Johnny Oduya or forward Marcus Kruger.
"I'm not going to rule anything out or rule it in," Bowman said. "It's still sort of a fluid situation. … We're getting closer to a point where we can say that this is officially our team, but we're not there yet."
The Blackhawks this offseason have traded Sharp and forward Brandon Saad (Columbus Blue Jackets), and lost forwards Brad Richards (Detroit Red Wings) and Antoine Vermette (Arizona Coyotes) in free agency.
Sharp had 43 points (16 goals) in 68 regular-season games last season, and 15 points (five goals) in 23 Stanley Cup Playoff games. In 2013-14, he had 78 points (34 goals) in 82 regular-season games.
Sharp played 679 regular-season games over the past 10 seasons for Chicago, with 511 points (239 goals). He had 81 points (43 goals) in 129 playoff games with Chicago and the Philadelphia Flyers, who traded him on Dec. 5, 2005.
"We are in a great situation with our team, financially and with contracts. This is an opportunity to get an elite player," Dallas general manager Jim Nill told the Stars webiste. "Patrick Sharp is one of the elite wingers in the game. He's got three Stanley Cups, so he is a huge addition to our team. ...
"We can put him in our top six, he's a power play specialist. He does a lot of small things. The winning and the leadership he is going to bring to the locker room is going to be huge."
Johns, 23, had 21 points (four goals) in 51 regular-season games with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League last season. He was chosen by Chicago in the second round (No. 60) of the 2010 NHL Draft.
"A big part of the trade was the Stephen Johns kid," Nill said. “He played for Rockford against [the Texas Stars] in the playoffs and pretty well manhandled us. He's a big, strong, physical kid. He skates well. ... He brings an element we don't have. He's a 6-4, 230-pound man, and he loves to play physical and is a good hockey player. The other part is he is a classy, classy kid. He's a leader."