Brandon Saad (F)
Anton Forsberg (G)
2018 5th round pick
Blue Jackets get:
Artemi Panarin (F)
Tyler Motte (F)
2017 6th round pick
This is an interesting deal reunites Saad with some old friends in Chicago, where he won two Cups.
Those old friends — primarily Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane — might be a big reason the deal happened, as they reportedly informed Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman that they wanted Saad back.
The 24-year-old Saad is a strong offensive talent who the Blackhawks had trouble replacing on Toews’ line, so his return will likely be received quite well by the Blackhawks’ captain. Saad has had three straight 50-plus point seasons and should continue that type of production in his second stint in Chicago.
Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, he comes at the expense of Panarin, who put up back-to-back 30-goal seasons and recorded 151 points in 162 NHL games. That’s significant firepower heading to Columbus, though Panarin will have to prove that he’s capable of similar production while playing away from Kane.
For the Blackhawks, Saad-Panarin swap also gives them additional cost certainty. They have matching $6 million cap hits, but Saad is signed through 2021, while Panarin is due to hit unrestricted free agency in 2019.
Chicago also acquires a cheap potential backup goaltender in the 24-year-old Forsberg, while Columbus gets the 22-year-old Motte, who has seven points in 33 career games.