July 1 Frenzy: Blue Jackets acquire Saad from Blackhawks

In a cap cutting move, the Blackhawks traded Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets. Getty Images

In a cap cutting move, the Blackhawks traded Brandon Saad to the Blue Jackets.
Getty Images

With the July 1 frenzy on deck, the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks made big news earlier today. Columbus acquired forward Brandon Saad from Chicago in exchange for Artem Anisimov and Marko Dano as part of a seven player blockbuster deal. The full trade has Saad going to the Jackets with defenseman Michael Paliotta and forward Alex Broadhurst for Anisimov, Dano, Corey Tropp and the Hawks reacquiring Jeremy Morin.

Elliott Friedman broke the trade on Twitter this afternoon. Chris Johnston had more details on the key players the Hawks were getting back.

When the news broke, the hockey internet was in shock. I don’t think anyone anticipated the Hawks having to part with a key piece of the future. A 2011 second round pick, the 22-year old Saad has been part of two Hawks’ Stanley Cups including the franchise’s second in three years. After posting career bests in goals (23), assists (29), points (52) and games played (82), he posted eight goals and three assists in the postseason. He was seeking a huge raise that would’ve killed the Hawks’ salary cap.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Saad was asking for an average of $6.5 million over six years. A crazy amount for a player who just completed his rookie contract. This is what you get in today’s salary cap where young players coming off rookie deals can demand the moon and force GM’s hands. We saw it with Dougie Hamilton this past weekend which explains why Don Sweeney sent him to the Flames for a first and two seconds. Hamilton asked for more than he received from Calgary eventually agreeing to a six-year deal worth $34.5 million ($4.75 million average).

Chicago general manager Stan Bowman decided that his team was facing a offer sheet that they couldn’t match and wound up getting two roster players back in Anisimov and Dano who fit into their immediate future. More so Anisimov who has a year left on a contract that pays him $4 million. He and the club are working towards an extension. The former Ranger had a tough season missing 30 games due to injuries while posting just seven goals and 20 assists. The 27-year old center fills a void with the Hawks moving on from Brad Richards. They now have a projected top three of Jonathan Toews, Anisimov and Teuvo Teravainen in the middle with Andrew Shaw one of the league’s best checking centers.

Dano is only 20 and tallied eight goals and 13 helpers in 35 games as a rookie for Columbus while splitting time in AHL affiliate Springfield with 11-8-19 in 39 games. A 2013 first round pick, he is highly thought of. So, the Hawks did well getting a prospect with potential.

The Jackets are still hoping to get Saad signed before the clock strikes 12 PM on July 1. If they don’t, he can receive offer sheets. Something the Hawks feared which explains why they moved him. If I’m Glen Sather, I have to be thinking about a extension for Chris Kreider. They can’t do it now with Derek Stepan a Group II who’ll get about $6 million. However, with Kreider having a year left at $2.6 million that’ll be the next order of business this Fall or Winter. Kreider has put up similar numbers to Saad posting 21 goals and 25 assists in 80 games this past season while adding seven goals and two helpers in the postseason. The 24-year old power forward is entering a critical year.

In other happenings Tuesday, the Ducks acquired defenseman Kevin Bieksa from the Canucks for a 2016 second round pick. A good return for the declining 34-year old veteran who’ll replace unrestricted blueliner Francois Beauchemin. The 35-year old would be a solid addition for any team looking to bolster their back end.

The Sharks signed new goalie Martin Jones to a three-year deal worth $9 million. … The Jets re-signed former Sabres forward Drew Stafford to a multi-year contract worth $8.7 million. He helped Winnipeg make the postseason after coming over from Buffalo in the Evander Kane blockbuster that also featured Tyler Myers to Winnipeg and Zach Bogosian to the Sabres.

… The Oilers dealt checking center Boyd Gordon to the Coyotes for forward Lauri Korpikoski. An equal swap of two checking forwards who are solid secondary players.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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