Pucks in Depth: The Chicago Blackhawks shouldn’t sell low on Brandon Saad

Pucks in Depth: The Chicago Blackhawks shouldn’t sell low on Brandon Saad

Now may not be the time for the Chicago Blackhawks to trade Brandon Saad.

Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

That’s something that could probably be said of Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman should he hold onto Brandon Saad.

Less than a year after re-acquiring Saad in a blockbuster deal with Columbus, the idea of moving on from him a second time has already surfaced.

The excerpt below is via Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts.

11. Three others to keep an eye on: Chicago needs cap relief. With Brandon Saad dropped down the lineup, wonder if they look to give him a fresh start somewhere else.”

I don’t think Friedman is suggesting Saad is *likely* to be moved, however, I doubt he’d bring up Saad’s name – or anyone’s, for that matter – if he didn’t think it was at least a possibility.

Realistically, anyone is movable for the right price but I have a hard time believing trading Saad would be a good idea for Chicago.

It’s hard to win trades when you’re dealing a high-end player. It’s even harder when you’re selling low.

This is Saad’s 6th NHL season and, on a points per game basis, is the least productive of his career.

Luck, or a lack thereof, is a big reason why.

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As you can see, Saad’s shooting percentage and on-ice shooting percentage have reached lows at 5v5. That holds true on the power play as well.

While the difference in a couple percentage points may not seem like much, it’s a pretty significant gap.

From 2012-17, goaltenders posted an .891 save percentage on 5v5 shots coming from Saad. This year they’re stopping a hair under .920.

Over that same span, goaltenders posted a ~.911 save percentage on shots Saad was on the ice for at 5v5. This year they’re at .928.

Pucks just aren’t going in right now and, naturally, that has led to fewer goals to pick up points on.

It’s not as if that stems from a lack of chances. Quite the contrary. Saad has never generated shots or chances at a higher clip than he has this season and his on-ice numbers reflect that as well.

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For years, Saad has been an elite producer at 5v5 – only 13 players recorded more points in that game state from 2014-17 – and he’s blowing the doors off his previous numbers in terms of shot and chance generation. It’s only a matter of time before he’s rewarded for that.

If Chicago really is considering trading Saad, the least they could do is wait until he regresses and rebuilds his stock.

Written by Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell)