Jackets laud quick chemistry of Saad-Johansen-Foligno line


Columbus’ plan upon acquiring Brandon Saad in this summer’s blockbuster with Chicago was to skate him on the club’s top line next to Ryan Johansen and captain Nick Foligno.

On paper, the move looked perfect.

Early returns from the actual on-ice product look pretty good too.

“They did a lot of good things,”  head coach Todd Richards said after this weekend’s 4-2 win over Pittsburgh, per the Dispatch. “I was really impressed with Brandon Saad, how he plays the game.

“There’s chemistry there, you can see it already.”

Saad, making his preseason debut after taking a puck to the mouth and getting four root canals, assisted on the first of Johansen’s two goals against the Pens. All told, the line finished with five points and Saad walked away with a great first impression of his new running mates.

“It felt good out there,” he explained. “Such good players. The way they finish and the way they make plays, they’re fun to play with.”

Assuming the trio can stay healthy this season — not a given, as CBJ had a league-high 508 man-games lost last year — there could be some serious offensive production coming out of Ohio.

Johansen and Foligno were both 70-point guys last year (a fairly significant mark, as there were only 19 of ’em in the league) while Saad scored a career-high 52 despite averaging just over 17 minutes per game.

It’s very likely that TOI figure will jump this year, as Foligno and Johansen are usually 19-minute-per-night players.