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Blue Jackets Trade Brandon Saad Back To Blackhawks

Columbus Blue Jackets playing at Nationwide Arena
Tanner Gronowski

The Columbus Blue Jackets traded forward Brandon Saad back to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for top young forward Artemi Panarin in a blockbuster draft day trade on Friday. 

The 24-year-old Saad spent his first four seasons with Chicago, helping the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups. 

Saad skated for the Blue Jackets the last two seasons. He totaled 24 goals and 29 assists in 82 games for the Blue Jackets last season.

Panarin scored 31 goals and added 43 assists in just his second NHL season. He teamed with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov in Chicago to form one of the NHL's most potent lines the past couple seasons.

"Artemi Panarin was the best rookie in the NHL two years ago, a second team All-Star this past season and is one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NHL," said Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen. "There is a cost to adding a player like Artemi, as well as a very good NHL prospect in Tyler Motte, but we believe this is a very good move for our team."

The Blue Jackets also sent goaltender Anton Forsberg and a 2018 fifth-round draft pick to Chicago. Columbus will receive forward Tyler Motte and Chicago's sixth-round selection to complete the deal.

In a separate trade on Friday, the Blue Jackets sent minor league forward Dante Salituro to the Minnesota Wild for center Jordan Schroeder. 

Columbus enters this weekend's NHL Draft without a pick in the first two rounds.

The team traded their first round pick, 24th overall, to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights to keep select unprotected players out of last week's expansion draft. The Blue Jackets sent their second round selection to the Vancouver Canucks as compensation for hiring head coach John Tortorella.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.