With big expectations, Saad not worried about contract

With big expectations, Saad not worried about contract
July 19, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Brandon Saad would’ve loved to have his own Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane contract moment this summer.

No, we’re not talking in terms of massive money; the Blackhawks forward hasn’t gotten to that point yet. But much like Toews and Kane, he could have signed a new extension this summer.

That didn’t happen, but Saad’s hardly worried about it. He has plenty of time to get a deal done, and he would certainly love to stay in the Blackhawks fold.

“Obviously it would be nice to get it done and have that out of the way, I guess, instead of focusing it on the year. But if it doesn’t happen there’s not much you can do. You play the season,” Saad said. “Hopefully it happens during the year and, if not, next summer. So we still have quite a bit of time to get it done, and we’ll see when it happens.”

Saad is a restricted free agent with one season remaining on his current deal. That pays him $832,000, and he’ll certainly get a sizeable raise on his next deal. Entering the 2015-16 season, when Toews and Kane’s extensions kick in, the Blackhawks have $65 million committed to 15 players.

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General manager Stan Bowman has stated several times how important Saad is to this team. Saad’s name was rumored to be one other teams coveted in pre-draft trade talks; Bowman said there was no way the Blackhawks would be parting with Saad, who he sees as a big part of the team’s future.

Bowman said Friday that keeping Saad here is still on this to-do list. But right now, “it’s been a busy time for us.”

“Brandon has been ... he’s come in at a young age and played a big role on our team, and obviously that’s something we want to continue going forward. He’s a special player, and to be able to accomplish what he’s done at his age — the exciting thing for all of us is that he just keeps getting better,” Bowman said. “We certainly haven’t seen the best of Brandon Saad yet. He had a great season, and I would expect he would be one of the players who take an even bigger step next year in terms of a bigger role and asserting himself as a top player in the league.”

The Blackhawks have been busy this summer, with Toews/Kane deals and the Brad Richards acquisition. They still have a few things on the docket, including trimming about $2 million off their roster to get below the $69 million salary cap for the 2014-15 season. They will get to signing Saad; until then, Saad will keep looking to improve.

“It’s always nice to have that security and feel comfortable that you’ve resigned. But I’m more focused on having a good year and contributing to the team,” he said. “All that stuff will take care of itself.”