Blackhawks get Saad back in trade with Blue Jackets

Posted June 24, 2017

"We thank Artemi for the immediate impact he made on our lineup during his seamless transition to the National Hockey League", said Chicago Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman.

The Arizona Coyotes have acquired defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Gone is the Bread Man, Artemi Panarin, who was shipped off along with Tyler Motte and a 2017 sixth-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Concerned about their ability to re-sign Saad when he became a restricted free agent in 2015, the Blackhawks traded the rugged winger to the Blue Jackets.

While Panarin is a better offensive player with more upside than Saad, the trade was made to achieve some cost certainty.

Plus, as TSN's Frank Seravalli notes, some of Chicago's veterans might have vouched for his return, letting it be known "how much they missed Saad".

In exchange, the Coyotes sent defenseman Connor Murphy and center Laurent Dauphin to Chicago.

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Hossa, who announced that he would miss this season because of an severe ongoing allergy, was one of the premier two-way wingers in the National Hockey League. He has scored 55 goals and 106 points in 160 games since being traded, including 31 goals in his first season in Columbus. And while Saad is not in the same category of defensive player, he does play a 200-foot game and had a ton of success in Chicago, where he won two Stanley Cups. Saad had 24 goals and 53 points in 82 games last season, making it the third straight campaign where he recorded between 52 and 53 points.

Saad said he heard from Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and defenceman Brent Seabrook after the trade.

The 30-year-old Hjalmarsson had spent his entire 10-year career with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup titles. During those first four seasons, he totaled 52 goals and 74 assists in 208 games. It also creates valuable cap space for the Blackhawks. "I think he's one of the most dynamic forwards in the league".

Meanwhile, the 24 year-old Forsberg will likely replace the departed Scott Darling as the backup goalie to Corey Crawford next season.

As for the financials, Hjalmarsson has two years remaining on a five-year, $20.5 million deal with a $4.1M average annual cap hit.

"I just have nothing but exciting feelings going to a great organization", Murphy said.