(CBS) Just more than two weeks removed from leaving the organization that he admittedly expected to be with for years to come, Brandon Saad continues to hold mixed emotions after being traded from the Blackhawks to the Blue Jackets on June 30 in a seven-player deal.
“It’s a tough time for sure, it’s emotional,” Saad told the Spiegel and Goff Show on Thursday morning. “I guess that’s part of the business.READ MORE: Suspect Shot, Wounded By Police On Lower Wacker Drive; 2 Others Taken Into Custody After Being Found In Vehicle Taken In Carjacking
“As a player, that’s where I started (in Chicago) and that’s where I looked at the future. But like I said, it’s a cap crunch, especially on a championship team. It was going to be someone. You never expect it to be you, but it’s always a possibility. It happened.”
The 22-year-old Saad exited because the Blackhawks faced a salary cap crunch and couldn’t afford to retain him in restricted free agency. Saad called it “sad” to have to leave Chicago, but he’s also content to have signed a six-year, $36-million deal with what he considers an up-and-coming Columbus squad.
Being a key part of two Stanley Cup-winning teams in the past three years made it much easier to leave as well, Saad added.
“We have careers where we don’t work as long as other people,” Saad said. “We work hard. You try to make as much (money) as you can in the short period you have. Whatever team you’re playing for, you try to find the right number that fits you too. You want to win hockey games. It all falls into play and is part of the business. unfortunately, that’s the nature of it.
“The big thing too is I’m not coming to a bad team. It’s a team with a lot of potential, a lot of young guys and excitement that they bring to the game. Winning definitely helps make the decision, but at the same I’m moving on to a good team that can compete and make a run here too.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Brief Warm Up Is On The Way, Snow Showers Return
The Blue Jackets finished with 89 points last season, 11th-most in the 16-team Eastern Conference and nine points out of the final wild-card spot. They’ll look to Saad to lead their offense after he had a strong 2014-’15 season, scoring 23 goals and recording 29 assists in the regular season and then scoring eight goals in the postseason.
“You love the pressure,” Saad said of being the go-to player. “It’s something you embrace. You love to face those challenges. When you succeed, there’s nothing that feels better.”
Saad also credited his Blackhawks teammates for preparing him for taking on a bigger role in Columbus.
“Really, I couldn’t be more fortunate to end up in that situation that happened,” Saad said of his time in Chicago. “Not only winning, but playing with some special players. Just to be around them on and off the ice, day in and day out, to learn their habits, the way they compete, the way they play, the way they do things, it’s all professional. Being a young guy, it kind of helps mold your game and make you a better player.
“It’s something I can take with me in my career.”
Listen to Saad’s full interview below.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar