‘Hawks, Saad will wait for season’s end to negotiate new deal

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Brandon Saad is currently in a contract year with the Chicago Blackhawks, and it sounds like he’s content to play it out instead of negotiating a contract extension.

His agent Lewis Gross shared such a preference with ESPN Insider this past weekend.

“We feel we’ll wait until the season is over,” Gross said. “Let’s let the season pass and try and sit down and get something done.”

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman confirmed to ESPN Insider that nothing has been done yet regarding the pending RFA, also noting that he believes the 22-year-old is “emerging as the next mainline player” for the Blackhawks.

That seems true in more ways than one, as Saad has been lining up with high-end forwards Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews lately. He has 14 points in 21 games so far in 2014-15, averaging 16:37 of ice time per game. His possession stats have dipped a bit this season, at least relative to his teammates, although some of that might come from playing on a Blackhawks team that can really dominate in that category.

While holding out until after the 2014-15 season makes sense for Saad’s side (they probably want him to maximize his value, especially if he sticks with Toews and Hossa over the long haul), the Blackhawks have some reason to wait this out, too.

Cap Geek estimates that they have about $65.79 million in cap space devoted to just 15 players in 2015-16, and considering the possibility that the cap ceiling might not budge in a meaningful way, the Blackhawks might have some tough decisions to make. Committing to more contracts – even with a promising player like Saad – might not be wise until they have a better idea about what the future holds.