After years of being subject to trade rumors, the Avalanche on Saturday have traded defenseman Nikita Zadorov to the Chicago Blackhawks in a deal involving forward Brandon Saad.
Along with Saad, the Avs acquire young defenseman Dennis Gilbert for Zadorov and defenseman Anton Lindholm. Per Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Chicago will retain $1 million on the Saad contract, leaving $5 million, which the Avalanche will be responsible for.
Saad, 27, is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks coming off a 33-point season, including 21 goals, in 58 games. He has one more year left on a six-year $36 million dollar deal before becoming an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.
“In Brandon, we are acquiring a two-time Stanley Cup champion who brings veteran leadership and experience to our team,” Avs general manager Joe Sakic said. “He is a proven goal scorer and at age 27, is in the prime of his career.”
Zadorov, 25, was involved in trade rumors at the NHL trade deadline in February and is coming off a one-year deal that paid him $3.2 million. He has signed for the same number and term with the Blackhawks for the upcoming season.
From Colorado Avalanche Communications
DENVER – The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club announced today that the team has acquired forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Dennis Gilbert from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm.
Saad, 27, is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, winning the title with Chicago in 2012-13 and 2014-15. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native has recorded 347 points (169g/178a) in 588 career regular-season games for the Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets, while adding 42 points (18g/24a) in 81 career postseason contests.
Saad tallied 21 goals and 33 points (21g/12a) in 58 games for the Blackhawks during the 2019-20 regular season. He finished third on the club in goals and led the team with five game-winning tallies. It marked the fifth 20-goal campaign of his NHL career. The 6-foot-1, 206-pound left wing went on to add five points (2g/3a) in nine playoff games.
“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,” said Avalanche Executive Vice President / General Manager Joe Sakic. “We are also adding a sturdy, young defenseman in Dennis who plays a physical game and will help our depth on the blue line. We thank Nikita and Anton for their time with the Avalanche and wish them the best of luck moving forward.”
Selected by Chicago in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Saad was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy and was named to the NHL All-Rookie Team during his first season in 2012-13. Acquired by Columbus on June 30, 2015, Saad went on to set a career-high with 31 goals and was selected to the NHL All-Star Game during his first season with the Jackets in 2015-16. He was re-acquired by Chicago on June 23, 2017.
A product of the United States National Team Development Program, Saad represented his country at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship and won gold with Team USA at the 2010 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. He also played for Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Prior to turning pro, Saad played two seasons (2010-12) with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League, where he was named to the OHL First All-Star Team in 2011-12.
Gilbert, 23, split the 2019-20 campaign between the Blackhawks and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs. He skated in 21 games for Chicago, notching three points (1g/2a) and dressed in 30 games for Rockford, tallying seven points (1g/6a). The Buffalo, New York, native recorded his first career NHL point (assist) on Dec. 12, 2019 at Arizona and scored his first career NHL goal on Dec. 27, 2019 vs. NY Islanders.
Chicago’s third-round selection (91st overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft, Gilbert made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks on April 3, 2019 vs. St. Louis. He spent the majority of that 2018-19 season—his first as a professional—with Rockford, tallying 14 points (5g/9a).
Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound rearguard played three seasons at the University of Notre Dame, where he had 42 points (6g/36a) over 116 college games. He was named the Hockey East’s Best Defensive Defenseman and was named to the Hockey East Third All-Star Team as a sophomore in 2016-17. Before he enrolled at Notre Dame, Gilbert played one season with the Chicago Steel where he was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team.
Zadorov, 25, recorded 13 points (4g/9a) with a +6 plus/minus rating in 64 games with Colorado during the 2019-20 regular season. He led the team in hits for the fourth consecutive season with 175. Selected by Buffalo in the first round (16th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Zadorov was acquired by Colorado on June 26, 2015. He has skated in 356 career regular-season NHL games with the Sabres and Avalanche, notching 75 points (22g/53a).
Lindholm, 25, was Colorado’s fifth-round pick (144th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft. He skated in 66 career NHL games with the Avalanche, tallying five points (0g/5a).