(CBS) The Penguins are expected to make a run at Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad when he enters restricted free agency this summer, ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday.
The 22-year-old Saad has had a breakout postseason, tallying eight goals, including the game-winner against the Lightning in Game 4 on Wednesday night that evened the Stanley Cup Final at 2-2. He also had two assists. In the regular season, Saad had 23 goals and 29 assists in 82 games.
Saad’s a Pittsburgh native who was drafted by Chicago in the second round in 2011.
Because it’s restricted free agency on the horizon for Saad, the Blackhawks will have the ability to match any offer sheet from another team. If they don’t think an offer sheet will get the job done, the Penguins could engage in trade talks with the Blackhawks, but Chicago’s widely expected to retain Saad, who appears to be part of the team’s core moving forward. The complication for the Blackhawks is that they’re going to have to cut payroll elsewhere if they’re to give Saad the big money that his play suggests he’ll earn.
Saad has most often been paired on the first line with center Jonathan Toews and winger Marian Hossa this season.