Blackhawks trade Artemi Panarin to Blue Jackets, bring back Brandon Saad

A day after the Edmonton Oilers shipped Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders, another playoff team has traded away a high-profile forward.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman first reported that the Chicago Blackhawks would send 25-year-old winger Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets to re-acquire Brandon Saad, a key member of Chicago's Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2013 and '15.

The deal includes draft-pick compensation -- a sixth-round pick to Columbus and a fifth-rounder to Chicago -- and also has the Blackhawks sending forward Tyler Motte to Columbus for goalie Anton Forsberg.

Bringing back Saad, who was dealt to the Blue Jackets as a pending restricted free agent in 2015, is probably a welcome move for Chicago, which was going to have trouble meeting Panarin's own demands as a future free agent. The former 43rd overall pick is a year younger than Panarin, has playoff success under his belt and figures to be more of a long-term fit for the Blackhawks from a financial perspective.

Plus, as TSN's Frank Seravalli notes, some of Chicago's veterans might have vouched for his return, letting it be known "how much they missed Saad."

Parting with Panarin, however, is no shrug of the shoulders. The first-line standout has topped 30 goals in each of his first two seasons at the NHL level, scoring 151 points from 2015-16 through this past season alongside Patrick Kane. Big-money demands or not, John Tortorella's Columbus offense has added a difference-maker.After two seasons skating with Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin is moving on to Columbus. 

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