Why Brandon Saad Isn’t Going Anywhere
Friedman suggested Brandon Saad might be available. He could not be more wrong.
Yesterday, while perusing NHL media, the following sentence from Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” struck me:
Speaking of forwards, very curious to see where things go with Columbus and Brandon Saad. He’s fifth on the Blue Jackets in scoring, fifth in time-on-ice among forwards. But he was almost a healthy scratch last week and, somewhere, the team wants to ease its cap crunch. Chicago investigated it last season, but couldn’t make things work. He’s 24 years old and has a lot to give.
Just … no.
Brandon Saad isn’t going anywhere. Don’t fret. Here’s why:
There’s too much invested in him
Columbus traded for Brandon Saad in the summer of 2015, as you’ll recall. He was a restricted free agent in Chicago, and the Blackhawks were not interested in meeting his demands of $36 million over six years. Columbus, all too happy to pay that, shipped out Artem Anisimov and spare parts for Saad. Saad, a two time Stanley Cup winner already, walked into the room and immediately became one of the most talented players on the team, one of the highest paid, and one of the most decorated. That experience is not easily replaced.
His production isn’t just found on any street corner.
Saad put up 31-22-53 last season. His goals scored were tied for 16th in the league. His point total put him 69th. In other words, by point totals, he’s a first line guy on every single team in the NHL. And, lest we forget, Columbus was terrible last year. He put up those numbers in a down season, and when everyone expected him to regress as he went from a Stanley Cup contender to one that isn’t ready to contend yet. Despite that confluence of factors, Saad put up numbers in line with his career averages. He’s going to continue to improve as he matures as a player. You don’t just dump a guy like that.
He wasn’t almost a healthy scratch for playing poorly.
This is just plain erroneous. Brandon Saad wasn’t “in the doghouse” or being scratched because he was playing poorly. He made a mistake that led to an overtime winning goal for St. Louis. The reason Torts took issue with Saad is because he felt that Saad should have hustled back harder on defense. It was a coaching moment. Saad is a leader on this team, even if he doesn’t have a letter. Each player on this roster is expected to give their all every shift. As Saad didn’t, Torts wanted to set an example that no one is above the mentality of the team. Saad has, since that moment, worked hard on every shift. He’s going to be fine.
So that, in a nutshell, is why Friedman is off his rocker. Brandon Saad is a Jacket for the long haul.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know!