Newly-acquired Blue Jackets forward Brandon Saad conducted a Q&A earlier today. The Blue Jackets apologize for the technical difficulties on today's media conference call.
What was your reaction to the trade when it happened and what are you looking for in a deal with Columbus?
I was a little bit shocked and obviously a little sad to go. You build relationships, bond with guys and have experiences with them, but at the end of the day you understand the business part of it and I’m looking forward to a new opportunity and I’m excited to move on and start a new chapter in my career. As for what kind of deal, I’m going to let my agent handle that.
Did the Hawks/Stan Bowman ever give you or your agent any indication that a trade might be the end result of your negotiations?
In the back of your mind you always know that these things are possible. That’s just part of the business side of it.
Did you leave the negotiating entirely up to your agent? How involved were you in the process?
Yes. As a player, I try to stay out of it as much as possible. You just try to play the game and have fun. As for the business part, you try to take the emotion out of it. I let my agent do that and he keeps me informed and talks to me about things that are going on, but for the most part I let him do the work. He knows the business more than I do.
When you opened negotiations, did you ever even think it was possible you wouldn't re-sign with Chicago, and do you think your agent made a fair offer to the Blackhawks?
As I said earlier, I had hoped it would work out in Chicago because of the relationships I have with guys there and the things we’d accomplished, but I know there is a business side too. I’m not going to comment on any offers. I let my agent handle that part of it.
Knowing the Blackhawks' cap situation, did the idea of taking a hometown discount to stay in Chicago ever come up between you and your agent?
That is something that crosses your mind but at the same time with the Blackhawks and how close they are to the cap, you knew something was going to happen with me or someone else and this time it was my time to go.
How much, if any, sadness do you have about leaving the guys in Chicago?
As I said earlier, I’m a little sad to leave because of the relationships that I’ve built with those guys, but this is part of the business and I’m excited about what’s in front of me with the Blue Jackets.
Hawks GM Stan Bowman said yesterday that the Hawks and you never really got close to a deal. What was one of the biggest issues, term or something else?
I don’t want to comment on any of that. I’m letting my agent handle that part of it.
As a young player, how strong was the influence of well-rounded, 200-foot players like Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, etc. on your career as you came up with the Blackhawks?
I think it was huge. Those two guys play at both ends of the ice, are leaders on and off the ice and all their habits are tremendous. For me as a young guy to come in and learn from those types of players, to play with them and interact with them was great. I was pretty much a sponge while I was there. I just tried to take in as much as I could and it helped me become the kind of player I am today. I think that definitely helped speed up my progression and my confidence and helped me become a better player. I really couldn’t thank them enough.
Do you have any friends/acquaintances on the Blue Jackets?
I played a bit with Dalton Prout in Saginaw. He was traded the latter part of my first season there to help us make a playoff push so I go to know him a bit there.
Have you spoken with anyone on the team, and if so, what have they told you about the team and/or the city?
I got a bunch of calls and texts from guys on the team, I’ve spoken with a handful of guys (Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Johansen, Nick Foligno, Cam Atkinson, Scott Hartnell) and they’re all excited and I’m excited to come. Obviously with the types of seasons they’ve had the past few years, everything is on the up. They’re a young, confident group with a lot of skill and I know from playing them in the past they’re a tough team to play against. They’re headed in the right direction and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. The guys basically just called to say congratulations and they’re looking forward to having me on the team.
What are your impressions of the Blue Jackets having played them a few times over the past three seasons?
They are always a tight-checking team and with the skill they have it makes them dangerous. They can play both styles of game and are tough to play against. Seeing their playoff push last year and the way they finished this season, they’re a strong group and I’m looking forward to going there to help and be a part of it.
You’ve won two Stanley Cups in three NHL seasons. Despite still being a young player, what do you think you can bring to the Blue Jackets as a team that is still on the rise and looking to break through in the playoffs?
I’m just looking to be a part of the team really. Having the success and experience I’ve had, I’m just going to be myself around the boys and look to fit in with the team. They’ve done a good job without me, so I’m just going to go and be a part of the team, share my experiences and help out as much as I can. I’m just looking forward to being a part of the team.
There has been some talk about you playing on a line with Ryan Johansen, another young player who has started to make a mark in the league. What are your thoughts on that possibility?
I know from watching him, he’s a fantastic player. Playing against him, he plays a lot of minutes and does the right things. He’s a skilled player. He scores goals, so I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m not sure where I’m going to fit in the lineup, but if it’s with him that would be tremendous.