Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad said he’s “not worried about getting paid” this summer during contract negotiations and that he’s “looking forward” to getting a contract done with GM Stan Bowman.
One of the big reasons why the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup – and one of the causes for concern when it comes to issues of the salary cap – comes in the form of a 22-year-old power forward who has carved out a spot for himself in the Blackhawks’ top six:
Brandon Saad. But Saad, set to be a restricted free agent this off-season, is trying to quiet any rumblings that he won’t be in the Windy City next season. Saad, who was drafted in the second round, 43rd overall by Chicago, has been talked about over the past few months as a major possibility for a big money offer sheet, a tactic rarely used by rival GMs but one that could put the Blackhawks under immense salary restraints. That doesn’t seem like much of a concern for Saad, though, as it doesn’t look as if the young winger is concerned about getting a paycheck.
“I’m not really worried about getting paid,” Saad told
the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Potash. “It’s about winning championships, being in Chicago. We’ll get something done. It’s an incredible city; an incredible team. I’m looking forward to being here.” For Blackhawks fans, those are encouraging words from a rising star coming off of an eight-goal, 11-point post-season and a career best 23-goal, 52-point regular season. On top of his scoring, though, there’s so much to Saad’s game that makes him a key part to the organization’s continued success, and losing him, especially now as the cap crunch is about to claim members of the core group, would leave Chicago faithful heartbroken. This past season, Saad not only set career bests in points and playoff goals, but he skated more minutes than he ever had previously. Compared to the 2013-14 campaign, in fact, Saad skated nearly one minute more per game. He took big minutes on the penalty kill to help make up for the losses of players such as
Michal Handzus and
Ben Smith. He slotted onto the top line alongside
Jonathan Toews and
Marian Hossa, often nights making for Chicago’s best line. In many ways, he’s earned himself the title of a “mini-Hossa,” too: he backchecks hard, is strong on the puck and can beat you with his speed, all things Hossa does well. So, to hear Saad say he’s not worrying about the size of his contract and that he wants to stay put, it’s enough to put Chicago fans at ease. If Saad’s comments aren’t enough, though, there’s the words from Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman, who seems certain he’ll be bringing No. 20 back. “I just talked to him right after we won,”
Bowman told Potash post-Stanley Cup victory. “We [hugged] and I said, ‘This is the first of many — we’re going to win a lot together.’ He gave me a big hug and said, ‘Let’s go.’ So … he’s going to be here. I don’t think he would want to leave after this scene here.” Those words came nearly a month after Bowman’s statement – “We’ll get (Saad) signed,” Bowman told
the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc on May 24 – regarding his restricted free agent star. And there doesn’t seem to be much reason to doubt Bowman or Saad on matters regarding the contract, because the two aren’t being coy about the fact they want to get a deal done. “It’s an unbelievable team to be a part of,”
Saad told Potash. “Obviously, the championship — that’s what you play for. Stan’s treated me well along the way. I’m looking forward to getting something done this summer.”