The Columbus Blue Jackets’ strategy to add quality attacking flair to their roster gathered momentum when they traded four players and a future draft pick to Chicago Blackhawks for left wing Brandon Saad on Tuesday. It’s money issue that led Chicago to trade off their superstar. The Blackhawks are right up against their salary cap.
“If we get good depth, some quality depth, then maybe we can put together a package and try to get an elite player like Brandon Saad on our team,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said.
Despite adding Saad, Blue Jackets received two more pleasing prospects, center Alex Broadhurst and defense-man Michael Paliotta.
Saad could have become a free agent by Wednesday afternoon, but Kekalainen assured that the Blue Jackets would sign the 22-year-old crafty left-winger on a long-term contract by Tuesday night. In 67 NHL playoff games, Saad notched up 15 goals and has 34 points. He has scored 52 goals and 126 points in aggregate for Chicago in 208 regular season games.
“He’s a winner,” Kekalainen said. “We want winners here, and he’s a proven winner. He’s won two Stanley Cups. He’s 22 years old and been a big part of it. He’s got all the right tools. He’s got size (6-foot-1, 204 pounds) and strength.
“He’s exactly what we were looking for. He’s going to be a big piece of our team for many, many years to come.”
In order to rope in Saad, the Blue Jackets had to sacrifice Marko Dano, a promising youth who scored 8 goals and 13 assists in the first 35 games of his NHL career. Dano was Blue Jackets’ 3rd pick of 2013 draft.