Blackhawks send Artemi Panarin to Blue Jackets for Brandon Saad

The Chicago Blackhawks made a bold move Friday to relieve some financial strain as they made a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets involving Artemi Panarin for Brandon Saad.

No stranger to major reshuffling, the Chicago Blackhawks pulled off a major trade Friday morning, sending Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets for fellow left-winger Brandon Saad.

The Blackhawks will also acquire goaltender Anton Forsberg and a 2018 fifth-round pick in the deal, while centre Tyler Motte and a 2017 sixth-rounder head to Columbus.

The 25-year-old Panarin, who scored 77 points to win the Calder Trophy in 2016, then followed that with a 74-point campaign this past season, carries a cap hit of $6 million in each of the next two seasons.

“We thank Artemi for the immediate impact he made on our lineup during his seamless transition to the NHL,” Stan Bowman, Blackhawks senior vice-president and general manager, said in a press release.

“His rookie year will always rank among the best in franchise history and his exciting style of play provided many memorable moments for our fans during his two seasons as a member of the team. Tyler has a bright future in this league and we appreciate his contributions and hard work he put in. We wish them both success in Columbus.”

Saad, 24, returns to Chicago, where he spent the first four seasons of his NHL career and won two Stanley Cups. He was traded to Columbus in June 2015 as part of the deal that brought Artem Anisimov to the Blackhawks.

Coming off back-to-back 53 point seasons, Saad carries a $6 million cap hit in each of the next four seasons. He’s joined by Forsberg, a seventh-round pick in 2011 who was 27-17-2 with a 2.28 goals-against average and .926 save percentage in 51 games for the Blue Jackets’ AHL affiliate this past season.

Motte, a 22-year-old who was taken in the fourth round, 121st overall by the Blackhawks in 2013, scored 16 points in 43 games for the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2016-17.

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