Hockey

Brandon Saad dealt to Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired pending restricted free agent forward Brandon Saad, Michael Paliotta, and Alex Broadhurst from the Blackhawks Tuesday for Marko Dano, Artem Anisimov, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp, and a fourth-round pick.

Forward due for big raise after strong performance in playoffs

Brandon Saad was traded by the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to Columbus on Tuesday. Michael Paliotta and Alex Broadhurst also join Saad in the deal that sees Chicago receive forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Corey Tropp, and Jeremy Morin, along with a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft for Saad, a pending restricted free agent who scored 23 goals in 82 regular-season games in 2014-15. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images )

The 2015 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks shocked the hockey world Tuesday by dealing pending restricted free agent Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

Columbus also received Michael Paliotta and Alex Broadhurst in the deal while sending forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Corey Tropp, and Jeremy Morin, along with a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft the other way. 

Saad's entry-level contract was set to expire July 1, and other teams would have the option to put an offer sheet in for him. It was believed by many that the Blackhawks would deal veteran forward Patrick Sharp who is making $5.9 million US per year, to make room for Saad's next deal. 

"Our plan all along was to sign Brandon. I mean obviously we didn't know until we began negotiating where they were going to be," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said. "All I can say is you do your best and we gave it a real good shot. Both sides tried hard. We just couldn't come to an agreement."

However, the Hawks decided to deal the 22-year-old, who has contributed 34 points in 67 playoff games.

With the mega extensions of Jonathan Toews of Patrick Kane's going into effect next season, the Hawks are up against the salary cap, and needed to move a body out. 

Saad set career highs this past season with 23 goals and added 29 assists in 82 games, while notching 11 points in 23 post-season games as Chicago won its third title in the past six seasons. The 2011 second-rounder has 126 points in 208 NHL regular-season games and was a part of two of the Blackhawks' last three Cup wins. 

"He is a proven winner and exactly the kind of player we want as a Columbus Blue Jacket," said Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen of Saad.

Chicago might have to shed more salary to comply with the NHL's cap of $71.4 million.

If the Blue Jackets are successful in signing Saad, a native of Pittsburgh, he will join Ryan Johansen, Ryan Murray, Nick Foligno, and Sergei Bobrovsky forming a strong core in Columbus. 

The 27-year-old Anisimov had seven goals and 20 assists in 52 games for the Blue Jackets last season. With the Blackhawks likely to lose centres Brad Richards and Antoine Vermette in free agency, Bowman said the six-foot-four Anisimov was a key part of the trade.

The 20-year-old Dano also had a successful NHL debut last season, finishing with eight goals and 13 assists in 21 games. Morin, 24, was traded by Chicago to Columbus last December for defenceman Tim Erixon.

With files from The Associated Press

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