Blackhawks sign Sharp to five-year extension

CHICAGO -- The last piece to the puzzle for the Chicago Blackhawks' roster heading into the 2011-12 season was a big one, as star forward Patrick Sharp was heading into the final season of his current contract.

On Wednesday, the Hawks announced the puzzle has been solved as the team agreed to terms on a five-year extension with Sharp. Terms of the deal were not released, but TSN is reporting the total value of the deal to be $29.5 million, with an annual average value of $5.9 million.

This means the popular and versatile Chicago forward will join a star-studded cast of "core group" players who are signed long-term with the Blackhawks.

"Patrick is a very important member of our organization and we are looking forward to him being part of a core group that will be a contender for many years to come," Bowman said in a statement released by the team. "Over the last several years we have seen him develop into one of the game's elite players as well as a fixture in the community, and we are proud to be able to announce this news today."

The 29-year old Sharp finished eighth in the League last season with 34 goals. That total led the team and was a personal best, as was the 71 points he scored. He also was named MVP of the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.

His versatility is one of his strongest traits. He's shifted easily from center to wing and has played equally well on the first or second line.

In the 2011 playoffs, Sharp finished second on the team with 3 goals, and he also had a pair of assists in Chicago's first-round seven-game playoff series loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The season before, Sharp tied for the team lead in playoff goals with 11 and totaled 22 points to help the Blackhawks win the franchise's first Stanley Cup since 1961.

Sharp was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round of the 2001 Entry Draft (No. 95), and after splitting two seasons between the Flyers and the AHL, he was dealt to the Hawks on Dec. 5, 2005 along with Eric Meloche for Matt Ellison and a 2006 third-round pick.

Ellison played just seven games for Philadelphia, while Sharp has amassed 150 goals and 151 assists in 427 regular-season games over parts of six seasons since joining the Hawks. And in 46 playoff games with Chicago, he has 21 goals and 17 assists.