By now the news of the Chicago Blackhawks trading Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets has probably started to really sink in. The Saadfather, the man child, has been traded. While this might be crushing your spirits and cursing the hockey gods, don’t give up faith in Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks. After all, there is always a reason for their madness. To help calm your anxiety and anger, let’s break apart the Saad trade that blindsided us all, even Brandon Saad.
The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and the Man Child now had 2 Cups under his belt. On Tuesday, the Blackhawks traded 22-year-old RFA Brandon Saad, who many people believed to be a big piece of Chicago’s future, along with two prospects to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In exchange, the Blackhawks got Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin and a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft.
After winning the Cup, Stan Bowman said he wanted Saad to remain with the Blackhawks and we were left breathing easy knowing he would stay. Bowman was adamant about keeping him, and Saad was, too—he wanted to be part of the Blackhawks for years to come. However, the two sides never got close to a deal. And now, Saad is no longer part of the Blackhawks present or future. The deal was a shocker and left everyone speechless, especially given the Blackhawks’ determination to sign Saad to a new contract. However, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Saad’s agent was looking for a six-year deal with a cap hit of $6.5 million per season.
Both sides tried hard to make it work, but it didn’t work in the end. And, while Saad is left “crushed” with this trade, we are, too. However, we will all move on from this because everyone has to prepare for next season.
Artem Anisimov’s New Contract
One of the seven players involved in the trade Tuesday was Artem Anisimov who Bowman has had his eye on for a while now. Anisimov was the former New York Rangers’ second-round pick and posted seven goals and 27 points in 52 games last season. The Blackhawks didn’t waste any time in signing Anisimov, who is a strong two-way center, to a five-year, $22.5 million contract that averages out to $4.55 million a year.
Bowman has even said that he sees Toews and Anisimov as a 1-2 punch down middle. If that is the case, I am stoked to see how this next season pans out with them together. While many people think Chicago overpaid for Anisimov, the front office certainly knows how to build a winning team, so we will hold out hope that they continue to show us they know what they are doing.
Signing Marko Dano
Marko Dano is a 20-year-old forward who had 21 points in 35 games last season, his first in the NHL after the Blue Jackets selected him with the 27th pick in the 2013 draft. When looking at his trade deal, Dano appears to be the centerpiece of it all because of his potential and ability to take Saad’s place in the lineup. In response to signing Dano, Bowman stated that he came into the scene last year and impressed people with his all-around game. He is a very active player, strong and can score around the net. Primarily a center, Dano will likely compete to take over as the No. 3 behind Jonathan Toews and the other big piece from the Saad trade, Anisimov. He is currently signed to an entry-level contract that will include a $925,000 cap hit for the next two seasons.
Seeing Red with Viktor Tikhonov
It looks like the Blackhawks are seeing red during trades with the newest addition of Russian forward Viktor Tikhonov at a one-year deal worth $1.04 million. Tikhonov was a 2008 first round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, but has been out of the NHL since the 2010-2011 season and played the last three seasons in the KHL with Blackhawks forward Artemy Panarin. Turns out the pair will continue to play together after all. In four seasons with SKA St. Petersburg, Tikhonov scored 55 goals and added 60 assists. Tikhonov can play both center and right wing, and with his great size he is described best as a grinding situational two-way forward.
Trust in Bowman
I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Trust in Bowman. He showed us in 2010 that even though we lost so many great players, we were still a strong team. Three Stanley Cups later and we are still doing great. While we may have lost Saad in an unexpected trade, we still have a solid core of players in Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Corey Crawford, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Tuevo Teravenian, and so many others.
So, hold your head high knowing your Chicago Blackhawks will continue to remain as one of the best teams in the NHL. At the end of the day the NHL is a business and trades happen. All we can do is be grateful for the players that once were Blackhawks and look toward the future.