Last week Blackhawks’ captain Jonathan Toews acknowledged the team’s cap crunch, saying it feels a lot like 2010.
On Tuesday, the first domino fell.
The Chicago Blackhawks sent forward Brandon Saad and prospects Michael Paliotta and center Alex Broadhurst to the Blue Jackets in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp and a fourth round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
CHI traded Saad because he was looking for 6 yrs with AAV of $6.5M. May have been an offer sheet coming tomorrow from a team with those #s.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 30, 2015
The deal came after Bowman and Saad’s camp were unable to agree to a new contract. Saad’s three-year $2.8 million entry-level deal was set to expire on Wednesday, making him a restricted free agent, and (as suggested in the tweet above) there were rumblings about him potentially signing an offer sheet elsewhere.
“We’re very excited to bring Brandon Saad, a 22-year old two-time Stanley Cup champion with great size, speed, power and the ability to score goals, to our organization,” said Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. “He is a proven winner and exactly the kind of player we want as a Columbus Blue Jacket.”
Prior to the trade, Chicago had roughly $8 million in cap space to play with for the 2015-16 season.
Salary cap hits for next season: Anisimov $3.283 million, Dano $925,000, Morin $800,000 & Tropp $625,000
— Scott Powers (@ESPNChiPowers) June 30, 2015
The move is a stunner on a variety of fronts. Bowman repeatedly expressed confidence throughout this season — especially during the Stanley Cup Final — that he’d be able to re-sign Saad, the 22-year-old forward that looks to be a star in the making.
For Columbus, it’s a big, bold move and the second out-of-nowhere deal orchestrated by GM Jarmo Kekalainen. At last year’s trade deadline, Kekalainen stunned the hockey world by trading injured forward Nathan Horton to Toronto for David Clarkson, considered to have one of the league’s most undesirable contracts.