Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal

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It took a while, but the Blue Jackets finally inked their guy.

On Friday, Columbus announced it had signed Brandon Saad — acquired three days ago in a blockbuster trade with Chicago — to a six-year contract extension. Per Sportsnet, it’s a $36 million deal with an average annual cap hit of $6M.

“Adding a player of Brandon’s caliber is exciting for the Columbus Blue Jackets organization and our fans,” Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased to have reached this long-term commitment that assures he will be an important part of our team for years to come.”

Saad, 22, was acquired in a multi-player deal that saw prospects Alex Broadhurst and Michael Paliotta also come to Columbus, in exchange for Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin and a fourth-round pick in 2016. Like Saad, Anisimov quickly signed with his new team, inking a five-year, $22.75 million deal with the Blackhawks earlier this week.

Getting Saad locked in is a major score for Kekalainen and the Blue Jackets organization. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup winner, scored a career-high 23 goals last year and is considered to be one of the brightest young forwards in the league — along with center and likely future linemate Ryan Johansen, the two will cut an imposing figure for Columbus next season.

Speaking of Johansen, it’s worth noting that with this deal, Saad becomes the highest-paid skater in Columbus (in terms of cap hit, anyway), ahead of Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85M) and captain Nick Foligno ($5.5M). Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is the team’s highest-paid individual, with a $7.425M cap hit that kicks in next season.

Johansen, who becomes a RFA again in 2017, is currently making $4M per.