Blackhawks

Brandon Saad agrees to six-year extension with Blue Jackets

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Brandon Saad agrees to six-year extension with Blue Jackets

Days after being traded by the Blackhawks, Brandon Saad has officially signed a long-term extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The team announced Friday that it's a six-year contract reportedly worth $36 million — an annual cap hit of $6 million — according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

“Adding a player of Brandon’s caliber is exciting for the Columbus Blue Jackets organization and our fans,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased to have reached this long-term commitment that assures he will be an important part of our team for years to come.”

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It's a hefty pay raise for Saad, which isn't surprising, but it's a deal the Blackhawks simply couldn't afford due to salary cap restraints. General manager Stan Bowman acknowledged, “I don’t think we ever came close" on a contract extension, forcing him to deal Saad to the Blue Jackets for forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp, and a fourth-round draft pick in 2016.

The Blackhawks will get an early look next season at Saad and the Blue Jackets on Oct. 17 at the United Center.

 

 

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

He’s back.

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the first time since Dec. 23, 2017 when the Blackhawks host the Arizona Coyotes, coach Joel Quenneville confirmed after morning skate on Thursday morning.

"It’s exciting," Quenneville said. "I’m sure he’s looking forward to it and we’re all excited about it as well. It’ll be a fun situation for the guys, seeing him back in the net as well. So we’re looking for everyone to be excited about tonight’s game."

The two-time Stanley Cup champion was medically cleared to practice from his concussion on Oct. 1, but the Blackhawks wanted to give Crawford as much time as he needed to get his conditioning and puck-tracking skills up to game speed before putting him into game action.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said on Wednesday. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. It was a pretty long process. ... Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

To make room for Crawford on the 23-man roster, the Blackhawks will assign forward Luke Johnson to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Brandon Saad, who wore a white healthy scratch jersey all week at practice, will take his spot in the lineup.

For now, the Blackhawks will hang on to Anton Forsberg and carry three goaltenders as insurance as they get ready to start a seven-games-in-11-days stretch.

Crawford was 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games last season. The Blackhawks were 17-30-8 without him and finished last in the Central Division.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: