Analyzing the Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad Trade

The Chicago Blackhawks had an interesting day before the start of the 2017 NHL Draft. After trading away defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, the Blackhawks made a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. They traded Artemi Panarin, prospect Tyler Motte, and a 2017 sixth-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for left winger Brandon Saad, goaltender Anton Forsberg, and a fifth-round pick in the year 2018.  Here is a quick overview as to what these players bring to the table and how these players will impact their new teams.

Let’s begin with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets are getting a back-to-back 30 goal scorer whose playstyle is that of a sniper. The Blue Jackets have always needed a forward who is a goal scorer that can boost the entire team. With the addition of Panarin, that is exactly what Columbus will get. Panarin has played two seasons in the NHL playing 162 games; he has scored 61 goals and registered 90 assists for 151 points. Of course those numbers are directly attributed to playing on a line with super star Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov. Panarin played with Anisimov in the 2015 World Championships, so they already had chemistry. With Columbus, Panarin will be placed on the second line with Alexander Wennberg as his center and Oliver Bjorkstrand as his right winger. Wennberg is a playmaker who scored 13 goals and notched 46 assists last season. Bjorkstrand is a sniper just like Panarin and scored 6 goals and notched 7 assists in 28 games last season. This is a very young line with Panarin being 25, Bjorkstrand 22, and Wennberg 22. They should eventually click and develop together, forming one hell of a line that will be difficult to shut down. With Wennberg being the playmaker playing alongside two snipers as wingers, Panarin’s and Bjorkstrand’s goal totals can only improve. Tyler Motte is a prospect in the AHL that is developing into a sniper as well. He played hockey at the University of Michigan for three years, playing 107 games with 50 goals and 55 assists. He also played in 33 games for the Blackhawks last season and scored 4 goals and registered 3 assists. In the pre-season, the coaches should have a look him if he is added to Columbus’s roster. He is only 22 and could be great player to have down the road. With the draft pick Columbus received, they drafted right winger Jonathan Davidsson out of Sweden. Davidsson played in 44 games in the SHL last season and scored 3 goals and notched 9 assists.

What doesn’t make sense with this move is that Panarin and Saad each make $6M a season. While the Blackhawks freed up no cap space, they did acquire a familiar face. Brandon Saad was a member of the Blackhawks from 2013-2015. He won two Stanley Cups with them and played on the first line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. For this upcoming season, Hossa will not play due to a medical condition so it seems the Blackhawks should place Saad on the top line as the left winger. What an amazing line the Hawks would have if Patrick Kane was moved up to the top line to play right wing alongside Toews and Saad. Toews and Saad each play a two-way game while Kane is all about offense. The Blackhawks also traded Scott Darling in the off season so Anton Forsberg will be an inexpensive backup goalie to Crawford. The 24-year-old net minder has only played in 10 NHL games and has a record of 1-8 with a goals against average of 4.02 and a save percentage of .879. He will have a better chance of improving his game in Chicago with better defensemen in front of him. If he does not improve, he will be sent down to the AHL.

Junior at Hofstra University majoring in Broadcast Journalism, minoring in Public Affairs and Radio/Television/Film. Research, write and report sporting news on air for WRHU Radio. Edit highlights and engineer Hofstra sports and New York Islander broadcasts. My favorite sports include hockey, football, baseball, soccer and golf. I currently play hockey and golf for fun.

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