Former Flyer Patrick Sharp Recounts Bob Clarke Facilitating His Trade
It was December 2005 when former Flyers GM Bob Clarke executed one of the worst trades in the organization’s history, sending Patrick Sharp and Eric Meloche to the Chicago Blackhawks for Matt Ellison and a 3rd round pick in the 2006 draft. At the time of the trade, Ellison had accumulated 13 points in 36 games for Chicago, while Sharp had amassed 15 points in 66 games in parts of three seasons for the Orange & Black. The players’ career trajectories went in opposite directions as Sharp ended up winning three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, while Ellison flamed out of the NHL after appearing in seven games over parts of two seasons with the Flyers.
What many people didn’t know at the time was that Clarke hadn’t arrived at the decision to trade the young forward on his own. As Sharp told Snow The Goalie, he requested a trade to try to grow somewhere else and told Clarke that Chicago would be his preferred destination. Rather than balk at the request of a young player with no leverage, Clarke made it happen, earning Sharp’s respect and appreciation:
In December 2015 the @NHLFlyers executed one of the worst trades in franchise history. Patrick Sharp (@10PSharp) tells @AntSanPhilly @JoyOnBroad about requesting a trade and details former GM Bob Clarke making it happen. Subscribe to @SnowTheGoalie: https://t.co/AC8SXrqyIj pic.twitter.com/JoQrgMIeNe
— Snow The Goalie: A Flyers Podcast (@SnowTheGoalie) June 17, 2020
More after the jump:
Sharpe: I think it was a great trade by Clarkie because I had to get out of there and Clarkie had told us that he didn’t want to trade me, but I had requested to go play somewhere else. I felt like I needed to get some ice time and some opportunity, so he granted the request. And for that I’m thankful to Mr. Clarke. He could have let me stay in a situation, he could have offered different contracts, kind of bought more time to work it out, but he was a great man back then, he is today. He traded me to a team that, he said, “Where do you want to go?” We kind of picked a team at that point. I knew the Chicago Blackhawks had a young group that was playing in Norfolk the year before, as we just went through the Philadelphia Phantoms days, I saw all those guys having success in the NHL. And I’m like, “Alright, that’s why I got to get going here with this group.” It wasn’t happening in Philadelphia, so I’m thankful for the trade. I love Philadelphia. I didn’t want to leave. I was still sad when I got the call I was going to Chicago, but things worked out for the best.
Snow The Goalie: Can you walk us through that really quickly because I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone on the show kind of walk us through putting the request in and having a GM that was actually receptive to your thoughts, so I can’t imagine it was just Chicago, right? Like there were a few teams that you might have…
Sharp: I think it was pretty much just Chicago to be honest with you. At that point it wasn’t like, you got to remember the situation and bring it back to that year. It wasn’t like I was demanding to be traded because I felt that I was so good. It was like, “Hey, let me go try this somewhere else in an organization that isn’t trying to make the playoffs this year or won’t make the playoffs that’s going to give these young guys a chance,” because I was just getting pushed out numbers-wise in Philadelphia, so that’s how the situation kind of played out and to Mr. Clarke’s great respect that I have for him, he kind of let the situation go on for as long as he could and until finally they pulled the trigger on it. It was so early in the season that you didn’t traditionally see trades made that early on. I think Joe Thornton was actually traded to San Jose a day or two before, so maybe the trade lines were just starting up, but it was more a request granted/thank you for letting me go try it somewhere else. And look, it wasn’t like I went to Chicago and things clicked right away. That was December of 2005 and I didn’t start doing much for a couple years after that. And do you think the flyers want to sit around and let me just kind of develop at the NHL level? I don’t think it would have happened. I’m thankful about the trade and, you know, a lot of GMs don’t go down that road.
I don’t know if the knowledge of Sharp requesting the trade takes the sting out of the move, but it happened and the package was underwhelming at best. To his credit, Ellison did go on to play 11 seasons in the KHL, including back-to-back All-Star appearances in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Sharp, meanwhile racked up 605 points (277 G, 328 A) for Chicago and Dallas.