Brandon Saad is back with the Chicago Blackhawks (I know, right?!?!) and that means a possible reunion with Jonathan Toews on the team’s top line next season. Are you excited? Well, it appears Saad is, too.
Brandon Saad hopes he can be reunited with Jonathan Toews so they can "do more damage." #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) June 23, 2017
Oh heck yeah.
Saad is coming off back-to-back 53-point seasons with the Blue Jackets, where he continued to be a beast during 5-on-5 play. The 24-year-old winger scored 24 goals last season, but only one came on the power play. He’s usually gotten numbers at even strength, and that’ll be what the Blackhawks expect from him next season.
Toews has at times struggled away from Saad the past two years, but we saw glimpses last season of the player who earned an eight-year, $84 million contract. It’s not a sure thing that they’re being paired together again — GM Stan Bowman said he’d leave those choices to Joel Quenneville — but it would be surprising to see them apart on opening night.
This is pretty exciting, even if means the Blackhawks need to figure out what happens on the second line now that Patrick Kane doesn’t have Artemi Panarin anymore. They could go with Nick Schmaltz to join Kane and Artem Anisimov, although it seems like the team may not be done making changes.
Although, I gotta say, it’s a little weird thinking about Saad and Toews doing damage without their third amigo, Marian Hossa. Hopefully Richard Panik is ready to live up to an assignment at right wing on the Toews-Saad line.