On Wednesday, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun wrote that the Pittsburgh Penguins could be interested in Blackhawks forward – and restricted free agent-to-be – Brandon Saad, a Pittsburgh native.
A source suggested to me Tuesday that the Pittsburgh Penguins are a team to watch as far as having interest in Saad. The Penguins would love to make a splash by grabbing the Pittsburgh native, especially given their need for a top-six scoring winger.
This comment leads to Chicago outlets like the Sun-Times writing about the potential of Saad ending up in Pittsburgh. So let’s get a couple things out of the way before this snowballs into a case of “oh dear lord we’re losing Saad” in social media.
Let’s keep in mind that Saad is a restricted free agent, and the Blackhawks love him. Which means there are two ways for him to leave the island:
- Trade – not happening
- Sign an offer sheet – possible, not likely.
I understand and appreciate the perspective laid out nicely by CBS’ Adam Gretz, who asked earlier on Thursday, “If you’re an NHL general manager looking at the Blackhawks’ current situation, why wouldn’t you try to put together an offer for Saad and see if he would have any interest in signing with your team?”
Pittsburgh isn’t in a position to make Saad an offer the Hawks can’t/won’t match.
If the Penguins wanted to make an offer that would cause cap issues in Chicago, it would have to be north of $5M per season (and probably closer to $6M). As Hockey Reference outlines here, the compensation for an offer sheet above $5,478,986 is a first, second and third round draft choices in the following draft. Compensation picks have to be originally owned by the offer sheet authoring team (cannot be someone else’s picks), and have to be in the following draft.
Pittsburgh traded their second round pick in 2016 to Toronto in the Daniel Winnik deal this season.
So cross Pittsburgh off the list of Brandon Saad offer sheet candidates this summer.