Saturday’s NHL: Avalanche get Saad in trade with Blackhawks

Detroit News

Associated Press
 |  Associated Press

Denver — The Colorado Avalanche acquired rugged winger Brandon Saad in a multiplayer trade with the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Colorado sent defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm to Chicago for Saad and defenseman Dennis Gilbert. The Blackhawks also will retain $1 million of Saad’s $6 million salary for next season.

Zadorov was a restricted free agent, but Chicago said he signed his qualifying offer of $3.2 million prior to the deal. Lindholm’s two-way contract has a salary-cap hit of $742,500, and it runs through the 2020-21 season.

Saad had 21 goals and 12 assists in 58 games last season in the third year of his second stint with Chicago. He was selected by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2011 draft and helped the team win two Stanley Cup titles before he was traded to Columbus in June 2015.

The 27-year-old Saad has 169 goals and 178 assists in 588 games with the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. He also has made 81 career postseason appearances, collecting 18 goals and 24 assists.

“In Brandon we are acquiring a two-time Stanley Cup champion who brings veteran leadership and experience to our team. He is a proven goal scorer and at age 27, is in the prime of his career,” general manager Joe Sakic said in a release. “We are also adding a sturdy, young defenseman in Dennis who plays a physical game and will help our depth on the blue line.”

Gilbert, who turns 24 on Oct. 30, had a goal and two assists in 21 games for Chicago last season.

Earlier Saturday, Colorado signed restricted free agent forwards Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin to two-year contracts. Burakovsky got $9.8 million, and Nichushkin’s deal is worth $5 million.

The Blackhawks parted with another accomplished veteran in Saad after general manager Stan announced Thursday the team would not be re-signing goaltender Corey Crawford in free agency. Crawford then agreed to a $7.8 million, two-year contract with New Jersey.

The acquisition of Zadorov adds a big, physical presence to Chicago’s blue line after veteran defenseman Brent Seabrook missed much of last season with injuries. The 6-foot-6 Zadorov, who turned 25 in April, had four goals and nine assists in 64 games last season.

Zadorov, a first-round pick by Buffalo in 2013, has 22 goals and 53 assists in 356 games with the Sabres and Avalanche.

Ann Arbor’s Watson traded

The Ottawa Senators acquired winger Austin Watson from the Nashville Predators for a fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.

The 28-year-old from Ann Arbor, Michigan, had six goals, eight assists and 65 penalty minutes in 53 games with the Predators in 2019-20. The 18th pick in 2010 by Nashville, Watson has 36 goals, 77 points and 358 penalty minutes in 306 regular-season games. He has 10 goals and nine assists in 45 playoff games,

The 6-foot-4, 204-pound forward was reinstated by the NHL in March 2019 after he entered the follow-up phase of the league’s substance abuse program. He started that season suspended and was banned again Jan. 29 as he entered the second stage of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.

Watson pleaded no contest in July 2018 to domestic assault and agreed to a judicial diversion program that enabled the misdemeanour charge to be dismissed if he served three months of probation and completed an in-patient treatment program and a batterer’s intervention program.

His girlfriend issued a statement that October taking blame for the incident in a gas station parking lot that led to Watson’s arrest. Watson later shared in an Instagram post that he’d been dealing with anxiety, depression and alcoholism since the age of 18.

Leafs deal Johnsson

The New Jersey Devils continued their offseason makeover by acquiring winger Andreas Johnsson from the Toronto Maple Leafs for forward Joey Anderson.

Johnsson, 25, had eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 43 games last season. He is signed for three more years at a salary cap hit of $3.4 million.

Toronto traded Johnsson to clear much-needed cap space. Anderson, 22, bounced back and forth between New Jersey and its American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton the past two seasons.

Johnsson is the Devils’ latest addition after they signed goaltender Corey Crawford to a $7.8 million, two-year deal Friday. They have a new coach in Lindy Ruff and are hoping to build back into a playoff contender after missing the postseason seven of the past eight seasons.

Johnsson adds to that. The 5-foot-10 Swede has 67 points in 125 career regular-season games.

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