The deal found the Blackhawks sending Saad, defenceman Michael Paliotta and forward Alex Broadhurst to the Blue Jackets for forwards Artem Anisimov, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp, Marko Dano, and a fourth round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
Chicago general manager Stan Bowman spent most of the regular season saying that Saad was going nowhere, but that doesn’t seem to have panned out. After negotiations with Saad and his agent broke down, Bowman avoided the impending offer sheets and dished him off to Columbus.
“We both tried hard to make it work,” Bowman said. “It just wasn’t going to work in this scenario. I don’t think we ever came close on a contract.”
Indeed, the offer sheet fears were so considerable that TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported possible offers near six years to the tune of $6.5 million a year. That’s ridiculous money. Saad had never made over a million a season and any deal with the Blue Jackets to come will likely involve a significant raise, but one has to imagine it won’t be in the $6.5 million range.
Saad set career-highs in goals (23) and points (52) this season and added eight playoff goals to help the Blackhawks to another Stanley Cup.
One could say that this deal frees up the likes of Bryan Bickell and Patrick Sharp, both of whom were rumoured to be available if the Blackhawks were going to keep Saad.
Regardless, the Blue Jackets are sure to benefit and they should be able to weather any storm and get Saad inked to a proper deal without worrying about cap constraints.
“We’re very excited to bring Brandon Saad, a 22-year old two-time Stanley Cup champion with great size, speed, power and the ability to score goals, to our organization,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. “He is a proven winner and exactly the kind of player we want as a Columbus Blue Jacket.”
Also worth a look in the deal is Anisimov, who has to be the top selling feature for Chicago. The 27-year-old had 27 points in 52 games and is entering the final year of his contract worth $3.283 million.
Dano, meanwhile, is on an entry level contract and could see some action. He had 21 points in 35 games with the Blue Jackets and is a quick player with good hands.