Brandon Saad Trade Makes Columbus Instant Contenders
Brandon Saad was given a huge boost in his NHL evolution the past two seasons playing alongside Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane with the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
On Monday, he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a deal that was shocking for most but sets up the possibility of hockey fans seeing if Saad was a product of his surroundings or his much talked about raw skill.
The likelihood is that his raw skill on the ice will flourish even more with Columbus. Saad is plain and simple the real deal regardless of the players lining up next to him on any team in the NHL.
He played during the postseason top-six minutes passing along the way teammates such as Antoine Vermette and Patrick Sharp. He scored 8 goals of which two were game winners and let’s not forget as mentioned earlier he is only 22.
At Columbus, Saad will join a team that Jarmo Kekalainen the GM has built that has the potential to be the force in the Eastern Conference over the long haul.
Following the trade on Monday, Kekalainen called Saad simply a winner. The GM said the team needs winners and Saad has all the tools; he has speed; he has size; he has strength.
The Blue Jackets GM has already imagined Saad alongside Ryan Johansen the Columbus center who is also just 22. Add in another linemate in Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner or Cam Atkinson and defense of Jack Johnson and Ryan Murray and the team looks young, talented, with some experience and ready for the long haul.
Saad just a couple of weeks ago looked untouchable with the Blackhawks, now he becomes the Columbus foundation. With the Rangers in somewhat of a flux and the Penguins in transition, Columbus are no longer considered walkovers in their division.
The work that GM Stan Bowman faces at Chicago has been discussed in hockey circles for weeks as he tried to manage with today’s salary cap so he could keep players like Saad.
However, when the dust settled, with word of a possible offer sheet being setup by Columbus to sign Saad, Bowman acted quickly to make a deal to bring top assets back to the Blackhawks.
Bowman also said the club had never been that close to a new deal with Saad who some rumors say is asking as much as $6 million per year on a long-term contract.