The Chicago Blackhawks today acquired forward Brandon Saad, goaltender Anton Forsberg and a fifth-round draft pick in 2018 from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forwards Artemi Panarin, Tyler Motte and Chicago’s sixth round (170th overall) draft pick in 2017. Saad returns to the Blackhawks where he was a two-time Stanley Cup winner with Chicago, winning in 2013 and 2015.
“We thank Artemi for the immediate impact he made on our lineup during his seamless transition to the NHL,” said Chicago Blackhawks Senior Vice President and General Manager Stan Bowman. “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, recently completed his sixth season in the National Hockey League after having spent the last two seasons with Columbus. Last season, the forward appeared in all 82 games, tallying 24 goals and 29 assists. His points and goals ranked third on the Blue Jackets during the 2016-17 season and he tied a career-high in assists (2014-15). It marked the second time in his career that he appeared in 82 games (2014-15). He also had 53 points (31G, 22A) during the 2015-16 season-his first with Columbus-including a career-high 31 goals to lead the team in that category.
The native of Pittsburgh played his first four NHL seasons with Chicago. During those first four seasons, he totaled 52 goals and 74 assists in 208 games. He has appeared in 72 career Stanley Cup Playoffs games between Columbus and Chicago, posting 16 goals and 21 assists. He appeared in all 23 Blackhawks postseason games en route to winning the Stanley Cup championship at 2013 and 2015.
Saad was originally selected by Chicago in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft. He appeared in three games with Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Forsberg, 24, has split the last three seasons between Columbus and their American Hockey League affiliates in Cleveland-where he was a member of the 2016 Calder Cup champion Lake Erie Monsters-and Springfield. He has a career NHL record of 1-8-0 and in 10 games alongside a 4.02 GAA and .879 save percentage and made one start with Columbus in 2016-17.
Last season, in 51 starts with Cleveland, he posted a 27-17-2 record with a 2.28 GAA and a .926 save percentage. During the 2015-16 season, with the Calder Cup champion Monsters, he posted a perfect 9-0 record with a 1.34 GAA and .949 save percentage during the playoffs. In 126 career AHL games, Forsberg owns a 73-35-12 record.
A native of Harnosand, Sweden, Forsberg was a seventh-round selection (188th overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft. He was a member of the 2012 World Junior championship team with his native Sweden.
Panarin, 25, recently finished his second season in the NHL, playing all 82 games last year and scoring a career-high 31 goals and adding 43 assists. On Wednesday, the NHL named the left winger to the NHL Second All-Star Team, his first such honor. As a rookie in 2015-16, he was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy, leading all NHL rookies with 77 points (30G, 47A).
Motte, 22, split time between Chicago and the Blackhawks AHL affiliate in Rockford during the 2016-17 season. He scored four goals and notched three assists in 33 games with the Blackhawks last year-his first year in the NHL. He scored 16 points (10G, 6A) in 43 goals with Rockford last year. He completed a three-year career at the University of Michigan in 2016, finishing with 105 points (50G, 55A) in 107 career games with the Wolverines.
With the exchange of draft picks, Chicago will now make nine overall selections in the NHL Draft that begins tonight at the United Center in Chicago. Eight of those selections will take place on Saturday. Chicago will make the 26th overall pick today. The Draft begins at 6 p.m. tonight and 9 a.m. tomorrow.