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Brandon Saad signs six-year, $36 million contract with Blue Jackets

Yeah ... the Blackhawks couldn't afford that.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Saad got his money from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The team announced a six-year contract for the winger Friday, with Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet pegging the annual cap hit at $6 million. That's a massive $36 million contract for the restricted free agent, which goes a long way toward explaining why the Chicago Blackhawks traded him earlier in the week.

Saad and two prospects were traded to Columbus on Tuesday, ending his three-year tenure with the team after two Stanley Cups and a Western Conference Final Game 7. Chicago received several players in return, including Artem Anisimov and Marko Dano, but Saad was undeniably the centerpiece of the trade.

The Blackhawks had to trade Saad because of concerns they wouldn't be able to meet his contract demands, and based on what he's signed for, the team's logic appears sound. Even a $5 million salary would've been tough for GM Stan Bowman to fit, and at $6 million, it becomes clear why he had to make a deal. Between the risk of an offer sheet and Saad's contract demands, his situation in Chicago became increasingly untenable with so many other big salaries on the books.

Now Saad has his big contract in Columbus, and the Blackhawks will move on with Anisimov and Dano playing key roles. This isn't really how anyone envisioned it at the beginning of the offseason, but I don't think anyone expected Saad to push for a $6 million annual salary, either.