Bowman on negotiations with Saad: ‘I don’t think we ever came close’

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Despite vowing to keep Brandon Saad in Chicago for “years to come,” GM Stan Bowman shipped the pending restricted forward to Columbus on Tuesday as part of a seven-player deal.

The deal is surprising considering both Bowman and Saad appeared confident a deal would get done just two weeks ago.

“The money’s going to come and go,” said Saad on June 17. “To win championships and play on a great team, that’s what it’s all about.”

During a conference call on Tuesday, Bowman admitted contract talks didn’t go as he predicted.

“I think it’s fair to say we both tried hard to make it work. It just wasn’t going to work in this scenario,” he said. “We certainly tried our best. I don’t think we ever came close on a contract. It wasn’t for a lack of effort.

“I respect their side, it just didn’t work for us. Obviously it didn’t work for them and that’s why we had to move on.”

The 22-year-old spent parts of four seasons with the Blackhawks winning Stanley Cups in 2013 and 2015.

His three-year, $2.8 million entry-level deal expires tomorrow, making him a restricted free agent.

“It’s a challenge to try to negotiate a contract,” said Bowman. “We gave it our best shot, we worked hard at it with Brandon and his agent. We weren’t able to reach an agreement. When that became apparent, then we turned our focus to trying to improve our team for next season.”

Bowman admitted an offer sheet from another club was a possibility and something that factored into his decision making process.