At the moment, Brandon Saad is a key part of a Chicago Blackhawks team looking to win its third Stanley Cup in the last six seasons.
Not long from now, though, Saad will be something else — a restricted free agent.
And that has people talking.
On TSN’s Insider Trading yesterday, Pierre LeBrun offered this nugget (transcript courtesy Today’s Slapshot):
[Saad’s] a guy you’ve heard his name attached to offer sheets maybe because the Hawks have all of these salary cap problems. I’ll tell you this. I know this. He’s a Pittsburgh native and the Penguins do have interest. What a splash that would make. They need a top-6 winger.
I don’t think that Brandon Saad is going anywhere. The Blackhawks covet him way too much. But it’s worth noting, the Penguins like the player.
There’s also this, from DK on Pittsburgh Sports’ Josh Yohe:
[Penguins GM] Jim Rutherford can’t comment on other teams’ players because of NHL tampering rules, but I mentioned Saad as an example when posing a general question to the Penguins’ GM about pursuing restricted free agents.
He isn’t against it.
“Let me say this about restricted free agents out there: We’ll always play within the rules,” Rutherford said. “If there is a situation that comes up, we’ll think about it.
“As long as it’s OK under the CBA, if there’s a player out there that we think can make us better, we won’t be afraid to consider making an offer.”
On a related note, some have suggested that Penguins star winger Evgeni Malkin could be on the move this summer.
The Penguins were recently eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and may be looking to shake things up this offseason now that it’s been six years since their last Stanley Cup and they fritter away the prime of Sidney Crosby’s career. Malkin is their highest paid player, carrying a $9.5 million salary cap hit through 2021-22.
Doug Wilson has already hinted that the Sharks are in a position this summer to take advantage of a team that may run into salary cap issues.
“Teams will make some decisions based on where [the salary cap] will be in the future,” Wilson said on the March 2nd NHL trade deadline. “We’re positioned at the other point. We have opportunities to acquire some players coming forward.”
Sharks owner Hasso Plattner was adamant that when he mentioned Malkin’s name during a recent press conference, he was only using the Russian forward as an example and wasn’t tampering.
“We cannot buy the Stanley Cup,” said the billionaire founder of SAP on May 8, before casually mentioning that Malkin wasn’t a player the Sharks could just go out and spend to acquire.
Pro Hockey Talk contributed to this story