Or maybe it was his agent.
Either way, Brandon Saad forced the hand of the Blackhawks into making this deal when he entered the negotiations for his new contract.
Brandon Saad was just coming off his entry-level deal, which is the three-year contract that all newly-drafted players sign, although the years don’t start ticking until that player reaches the NHL.
He just wrapped up an 82-game regular season where he scored 23 goals and added 29 points for a pretty good 52-point season. Saad was also third on the team with eight goals in the playoffs. Again, those numbers are pretty good.
But “pretty good” is the issue here.
CHI traded Saad because he was looking for 6 yrs with AAV of $6.5M. May have been an offer sheet coming tomorrow from a team with those #s.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 30, 2015
Saad had certainly played his way into a substantial raise from the $832,500 salary he’d earned in Chicago last season. But the money and the term that he was demanding as a “pretty good” 22-year-old forward was just too much.
For comparison’s sake, look at the two contracts that were doled out to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane after their entry-level contracts expired.
Each players received the same 5-year contract worth a total of $31.5 million, or an annual salary cap hit of $6.3 million. Saad was asking for more money than both of those players received on their first non-entry-level deals. Again, Saad is a “pretty good” player and could certainly develop into a player worthy of that $6.5 million annually. But are you ready to say that Saad is just as good Toews and Kane? I’m not. And that was just enough uncertainty to prevent the Hawks from throwing that much money, for that long, at a 22-year-old player.
Much of the vitriol you’ll see spewed on Twitter tonight is taken from an emotional source. Saad was a fan favorite in Chicago for plenty of good reasons. I’m pretty bummed that my red No. 20 sweater is going back in the closet for the foreseeable future.
But as we get reminded all too often, professional sports is a business, and this was a business move. That doesn’t mean it isn’t aggravating … but it’s still business.
At least we’ll all get to cheer for Brandon Saad when he plays for Team USA in the future, right?