Leafs and Jackets interested in Sharp

The rumor mill already is churning with Sharp’s name being mentioned in several places. The 28-year-old center has two years left on his contract with a cap hit of $3.9 million, which is an attractive price for one of the game’s premier two-way players.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Columbus Blue Jackets are believed to be very interested in Sharp should the Hawks decide to move him. Sharp could bring the most in return for the Hawks in terms of a high draft pick or top prospect.

Sharp is a guy any team would love to have,” a league executive said during the Stanley Cup Finals. “He might not be an elite player, but he’s just a notch below. There are no flaws in his game.”

Nobody knows what Bowman and his staff is thinking when it comes to players they might look to move, whether it’s Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Dustin Byfuglien , Campbell or others.

“I heard all those rumors since the start of last season and took it upon myself to block them out of my mind and not read too much into it,” Sharp said. “I like to think I have a good relationship with Stan and Joel (Quenneville), and whatever happens is going to happen. I can’t make the decision on that.”

Based on Byfuglien’s difference-making play in the playoffs, his size and his versatility, the Hawks are likely to keep the winger, who has one year left on his contract at $3 million.

Kris Versteeg, has two years remaining on his deal at $3 million. There has been speculation the Edmonton Oilers would be interested in talking to the Hawks about the versatile winger.

The Hawks have big money tied up in Campbell , who has six years left on his contract with a cap hit of $7.1 million. There may or may not be a team out there looking to take on that money, not that the Hawks will be looking to move the speedy defenseman.

However, if you remove Campbell’s $7.1 million and Cristobal Huet’s $5.62 million cap hits from the books, the Hawks would be in much better shape.

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