CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 29: Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche and Brandon Saad #20 of the Chicago Blackhawks watch for the puck in the first period at the United Center on November 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. | Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images
Anton Lindholm and Dennis Gilbert are also in the trade.
The Colorado Avalanche have traded defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Dennis Gilbert. Chicago has retained $1 million of Saad’s $6 million contract that ends at the end of this season, giving the Avalanche a $5 million cap hit player. Zadorov goes to Chicago as an RFA who made $3.2 million last year.
CHI/COL deal is Saad and Dennis Gilbert for Zadorov and Anton Lindholm. CHI retains $1M on Saad.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 10, 2020
Saad has been about a 40-50 point player in his career split between Chicago and Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s usually good for 20-25 goals, though he scored 31 goals in his age-23 season for CBJ. Saad will be 28 at the end of October.
Saad is a very good even strength play driver, especially offensively, but his power play numbers are seriously not worth a teams time. He’ll be a good second line player for the team further adding depth up front.
This looks like a very obvious improvement on behalf of the Avalanche. Zadorov was getting pushed out of the defense group and his defensive mistakes were becoming too much. He now goes to Chicago where their level of defense is much lower while the Avalanche get back a really really good offensive player. Saad has dropped in value in recent years, but he really only needs to be good for Colorado next season, which is the only year he’s signed for.
— EvolvingWild (@EvolvingWild) October 10, 2020
Saad has fallen off from his previous heights, but if there’s anywhere to rehabilitate a player’s game, it’s Colorado. Having Chicago retain $1M helps though, as does the cheap price. Nikita Zadorov isn’t great, but can probably help Chicago’s weak team defence. pic.twitter.com/zRVRwy53QP
— dom luszczyszyn (@domluszczyszyn) October 10, 2020
The Avalanche nowsit with $9,964,406 in caps space for 17 players, with RFAs Tyson Jost, Vladislav Kamenev, and Ryan Graves (who has elected for arbitration) still to be signed. The Avs only have four defensemen under contract right now, but with Graves hopefully signing at some point and prospects like Conor Timmins and Bowen Byram on their way, they should be just fine.
Valeri Nichushkin was also retained on a two-year, $2.5 million AAV contract today, a nice piece of business.
And if Taylor Hall still wants to join the team on a one-year deal, there should be space for him to jump aboard.