Step back on Brandon Saad speculation

Brandon Saad.

From Wednesday’s 30 Thoughts:

“Speaking of forwards, very curious to see where things go with Columbus and Brandon Saad. He’s fifth on the Blue Jackets in scoring, fifth in time-on-ice among forwards. But he was almost a healthy scratch last week and, somewhere, the team wants to ease its cap crunch. Chicago investigated it last season, but couldn’t make things work. He’s 24 years old and has a lot to give.”

I was tied up with Olympic hockey reporting after posting the blog, and didn’t notice this particular note received a lot of attention. Let’s clarify a few things:

For Columbus fans, it’s more likely Urban Meyer complains about NFL players attending Michigan practices than Brandon Saad gets traded. Last week, Saad was perilously close to becoming a healthy scratch until other health issues kept him in the lineup.

When that happens, people start to talk. What’s going on here? Are the Blue Jackets unhappy with him? Is he unhappy there? How’s he playing? We better check. Saad’s a good player, and will help any team over the long term — including the Blue Jackets.

So, “very curious to see where things go” means exactly that. Let’s see where it goes. Teams will watch to see how this unfolds. You have to be aware of potential trade situations. But, at this time, there’s zero evidence GM Jarmo Kekalainen is shopping Saad. It’s possible this is some simple John Tortorella message-sending that ends once Saad gets to the level the coach expects.

As for Chicago, I initially wrote that last year. The Blackhawks, looking for a top-line fit, discussed the possibility. I don’t think it went far, because they didn’t see a way it could happen.

Anyway, I don’t think Saad should be added to any “trade watch.” Premature for that.

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