We are pretty sure that if some Chicago Blackhawks players could go back in time, and the 2017-18 season all over again, they would. The Hawks currently sit seven points out of the last Wild Card spot in the Western Conference, and it seemed like we can still hear fans talk about the modern dynasty they once were, after winning three Stanley Cup in just five years.
For the last two seasons, they have failed to make it past the first round of the playoffs, and now are not even in the running for a spot, weeks ahead of the trade deadline.
Patrick Sharp, Ryan Hartman and Brandon Saad had struggled this season, and one of them might be sent back on the trade block by the Blackhawks in the coming days...
According to NHL insider Elliotte Friedman, the Hawks might move Saad to make room on their salary cap, and since the forward is now playing on the fourth line, he could be used as trade bait.
"Chicago needs cap relief. With Brandon Saad dropped down the lineup, wonder if they look to give him a fresh start somewhere else," writes Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts on Sportsnet.
Saad, who opened the season with a hat trick and had four game-winning goals in the first six games, has a total of 13 goals and 11 assists in 53 games this year. For an annual salary cap of $6 millions... it's not enough.
‘‘Yeah, that’s not something I pay so much attention to,’’ Saad recently said of the advanced metrics to the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘It doesn’t really matter. It’s about living in the moment and following through. . . . It’s been tough, you know? But you just try to get stronger from it.’’
The Hawks first traded Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets in June 2015 with Michael Paliotta and Alex Broadhurst, in return for Artem Anisimov, Corey Tropp, Jeremy Morin, Marko Dano and fourth round pick in the 2016 draft (who ended up being Anatoly Golyshev).
They could pull another move with Saad, who could benefit from a change of scenery... again.