NHL Trade Rumors: 3 teams who should trade for Brandon Saad

Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images /

According to the latest NHL trade rumors, Brandon Saad could be on the market. Which teams would make the most sense for him?

The Chicago Blackhawks were the last team to qualify for a Summertime trip to Edmonton courtesy of Lord Stanley. Meaning in your typical, pandemic-free, scenario the Hawks would not have even come close to clinching a playoff spot. Despite this, Chicago did well with the opportunity they were given. That said, they need to make some changes, which is why Brandon Saad is one of the hottest names available in the latest NHL trade rumors.

Lead by a core of veterans that won three Stanley Cups in six years, Chicago stopped the Edmonton Oilers in their tracks winning the best of five qualifying round in four games. They may not have stopped Connor McDavid at all, but they still got the overall job done.

The Blackhawks still have the decade-plus combination of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Kane needs only 43 points next season to move from 9th to 5th on the all-time highest-scoring U.S. born players list. We also can not forget about netminder Corey Crawford who was on two of those championship teams himself.

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Their stars are getting older, believe it or not, they never get younger. While Chicago’s team struggles are linked to age but compounded by the inability to rollover talent. It is what makes the league more competitive.

As teams successfully develop young players their collective salaries go up. Teams inherently cannot afford to keep all of those successful young players. Long term success means that you can replenish players lost to free agency via the draft.

With that said, Chicago finally has some notable capital to begin to replenish. Alex Debrincat, a 2016 2nd round pick, garnered a $6.4 million extension after his 40 goal season that kicks in for the 2020-2021 season.

Defenseman Adam Boqvist, who was the 2018 8th overall first-round draft pick, has two years remaining on his entry-level contract (ELC). Finally 2019 3rd overall pick Kirby Dach put up 23 points in his rookie season at the age of 19.

Those three players are locked up for now, but there are those due to be re-signed. Forwards Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalik, and Drake Caggiula, as well as defenseman Slater Koekkoek, are all restricted free agents.  Strome and Kubalik could each draw over $4 million on the market. Kubalik, maybe less only if Chicago needs to see a repeat of his successful rookie campaign last season.

Chicago’s only unrestricted free agent on the NHL roster is Corey Crawford. With rumors of everything including retirement, his future is up in the air. Either way, Chicago will need to throw money at the goalie position this offseason.

The Blackhawks have the 17th pick in October’s upcoming draft, and in all likelihood will keep it and even try to add another. If they were to add more draft capital, what would be the cost? Brandon Saad is a prime trade candidate. He has one year left on his contract priced at $6 million. The 27-year-old has never had injury issues and is good for 40 points a year. Where would Saad be a good fit?

New Jersey Devils

New Jersey has three first-round picks in the 2020 draft (7th, 18th, and 20th). That alone makes them a candidate for trades. But let us take into consideration the massive rumor mill that is this offseason. An offseason that has not even fully begun. According to @PuckReportNHL on twitter, the Devils will be very active.

Saad is a top-six forward and should be made available. If not now, then by next season’s trade deadline. Jersey has what should be a foundation to success in both the 2017 and the 2019 first overall draft picks in Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. However last year the Devils finished 26th overall in the NHL standings. Something has to change in New Jersey.

A swap between the Devils and the Blackhawks would benefit both sides and if Devils management stays true to its word about bringing in new blood, Saad would fit well next to one of their young top-six centers. The Devils also have about $26 million in cap space and would not necessarily need to commit to Saad if they do not like their return.

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal has some very obvious moves coming up. Max Domi is a restricted free agent and seems to always have rumors around him. Despite the need for depth at the center position, Domi seems to not be returning. Additionally, Montreal is overmanned on the blueline especially when you bring 20-year-old prospect Alexander Romanov into the possible fold.

The Habs only had one player eclipse the 50 point mark last season in Tomas Tatar. Tatar himself could be a trade deadline target as he in a similar situation as Saad, only two years older.

With $10 million in cap room, any potential return for Domi would affect Montreal’s remaining moves. Sending defense to Chicago makes the most sense for both teams, especially if the aforementioned Romanov and his cheap ELC graduates to the NHL roster.

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Dallas Stars

Dallas made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, why would they shake things up? The Stars need offense. Only one player, Denis Gurianov, scored more than 20 goals and he is a restricted free agent after the team’s cup run. Jaime Benn finally heated up during the playoffs, Tyler Seguin has seemingly yet to arrive in Edmonton, while Alexander Radulov will be 35 years old next season.

Dallas will have questions regarding Corey Perry, Mattias Janmark, Andrej Sekera, as well as newly crowned hero Anton Khudobin. I think Dallas could easily let them all walk in free agency, except for Khudobin. However, Khudobin might have earned himself a big payday next season despite his age. Plus with Ben Bishop presumably healthy next year the Stars can afford to let him go get a big contract.

Dallas can afford to let so many free agents go because of the possible number of prospects that might graduate to the NHL next year. We all know Joel Kiviranta by now and he could have earned himself a roster spot just for his game seven hat-trick against the Colorado Avalanche.

Along with Kiviranta, there are plenty of possibilities. Such as former fifth-round draft pick in Nicholas Caamano who debuted and played in 12 NHL games for Dallas this year. Also, former 2019 first-round pick Ty Dellandrea who tallied five points in seven games on a Team Canada that won the 2019 World Junior Championships.

Add to that Dallas’ second first-round pick from 2019, defenseman Thomas Harley, who made his NHL debut during the playoff round-robin, and Dallas has potential for a lot of affordable youth next season.

Saad would be an excellent fit in Dallas’ top six next at wing next to any combination of their current forwards. At $6 million, Dallas could afford him if even only for the 2020-21 season.

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The only issue is what Dallas would be willing to trade, and how desperate Chicago would be to move his contract. With all of Dallas’ potential prospect graduations, they could very easily take to the slower path of trusting their process.