Chicago Blackhawks: Trade Brandon Saad to Columbus

By Matt Barbato

According to multiple reports, the Chicago Blackhawks have traded winger Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Hawks will get Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin and Corey Tropp in return for Saad, forward Alex Broadhurst and defenseman Michael Paliotta.

Saad, who scored 52 points in the regular season with eight goals in the playoffs, was going to be a restricted free agent this offseason, which means the Blackhawks could match any offer sheet from another team. Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said he planned on getting a deal done with the 22-year-old and said he would match any offer sheet Saad received.

There was plenty of optimism that Saad would return to Chicago on either a two-year “bridge” contract, or a longer deal. Clearly, both sides were not as close as it appeared as free agency kicks off Wednesday. Bowman must have felt it best to try and get something in return for Saad.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Saad was looking for a mega deal that would’ve certainly blown up the rest of the Blackhawks roster.

The Blackhawks did get a decent return for Saad and added some important center depth. They get center help in Anisimov, who was a second-round pick of the New York Rangers in 2006. Anisimov, 27, scored seven goals with 20 assists last season in just 52 games.

Dano was the 27th overall pick in the 2013 draft and is only 20. He played 35 games with the Jackets at the end of the year and scored eight goals with 13 assists in that small sample size. This is the crown jewel of the trade for the Hawks as Dano could develop into a strong second-line center.

Many Hawks fans may remember Morin as an up-and-coming prospect with the Blackhawks. He was traded to Columbus in December 2014 for defenseman Tim Erixson. He wasn’t very effective with the Blue Jackets last season, scoring only two goals with four assists in 43 games. The Hawks will get some more time to try and make him a part of the franchise’s future plans.

Tropp, 25, is a former third-round pick in the 2007 draft by Buffalo and hasn’t panned out thus far in his career. He played in 61 games last season for Columbus, registering merely eight points.

This is quite a surprise considering all of the positive vibes heading into the offseason, but clearly the Blackhawks and Saad’s camp could not come even close to a deal. If Anisimov serves as a quality third-line center and Dano buds into the star he could be, the Hawks may have actually won this trade.

Dealing Saad could also imply that Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell will remain with the club. The Hawks were reportedly shopping both players during the draft, but could not get anything done. Anisimov carries the most salary to Chicago with a $3.283 million cap hit.