Blackhawks Rumors: Chicago Makes Pair Of Trades, Could Deal Hossa's Contract

In exchange for Artemi Panarin, Chicago is bringing Brandon Saad back from Columbus.

A day after the Edmonton Oilers shipped Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders, another playoff team has traded away a high-profile forward.

Chicago re-acquired Brandon Saad and parted with Niklas Hjalmarsson and Artemi Panarin in a pair of surprising trades Friday, giving the Blackhawks a younger look and more cost certainty for their roster.

The Blackhawks also acquired goalie Anton Forsberg and a fifth round pick in 2018 from the Blue Jackets and send forward Tyler Motte and a sixth round pick this year to Columbus.

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Panarin was due to be a restricted free agent this summer, but signed a bargain two-year deal worth US$12 million in December. Toews and Saad played together on Chicago's top line for much of the time during his previous stint with the team. The deal was announced less than an hour after Hjalmarsson was traded to Arizona for defenceman Connor Murphy and forward Laurent Dauphin. Saad scored 24 goals and 26 assists for the Blue Jackets last season.

The 30-year-old Hjalmarsson had spent his entire 10-year career with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks to three Stanley Cup titles. Saad returns to the Blackhawks where he was a two-time Stanley Cup victor with Chicago, winning in 2013 and 2015.

But the departure of Hjalmarsson and Panarin creates two more holes that need to be filled. "His rookie year will always rank among the best in franchise history and his exciting style of play provided many memorable moments for our fans during his two seasons as a member of the team". Following up that impressive showing in his sophomore year, Panarin scored 31 goals and 74 points in 82 games and earned himself a two-year contract extension that would pay him $6 million per season set to kick in at the start of the 2017-18 season.

Hjalmarsson holds the franchise record for postseason games played by a defenseman at 128. He appeared in all 23 Blackhawks postseason games en route to winning the Stanley Cup championship at 2013 and 2015. Murphy, 24, recently completed his fourth season in the NHL and had 2 goals and 15 assists in 77 games last season with the Coyotes, who selected Murphy with the 20th pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.

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