Brandon Saad could see himself being with the Colorado Avalanche for a long time even though he hasn’t yet played a game for them.
Saad was traded to the Avalanche from the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 10. The 28-year-old forward who won the Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, is in the final season of a six-year contract he signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 3, 2015. He can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Saad scored 33 points (21 goals, 12 assists) in 58 games last season.
“We haven’t had any discussions, I think it’s a bit early, especially with not really knowing what’s going on with the season, but for me, thinking about it, Colorado has always been in my top because I want to win again,” Saad said on the latest episode of the NHL @TheRink podcast. “So to be in a great spot like that, on a great team, and then you hear wonders about the city, really, it seems like a great place that I want to play a long time. I think it’s just a feeling-out process, making sure I’m in love with it, and obviously they have to want me for a long period of time. But that’s definitely somewhere I could see myself playing out my career.”
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly also joined the show to discuss the recent Board of Governors meeting.
Saad, who lives in Pittsburgh during the offseason, said he recently visited Denver to look at properties and neighborhoods, visit the Avalanche’s practice rink and even work in some hiking to experience the mountain views.
“It’s a beautiful city,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting the season going because we have a [heck] of a team out there in Denver.”
Not long after the Blackhawks traded Saad, the organization posted a letter to its fans explaining how the roster is going through a rebuilding process and urging their fans to have patience. Chicago had finished 12th in the Western Conference with a .514 points percentage (32-30-8), and they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games in the Western Conference First Round.
The Avalanche are heading the opposite direction. They are considered a Stanley Cup contender after finishing second in the West last season with a .657 points percentage (42-20-8). They reached the conference semifinals before losing in seven games to the Dallas Stars.
Colorado had to start its No. 3 goalie, Michael Hutchinson, in Games 5, 6 and 7 against Dallas because of injuries to its top two goalies, Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz.
Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon was the runner-up to Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl in voting for the Hart Trophy as NHL most valuable player last season. He also was fourth in the playoffs with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) despite playing 15 games.
Colorado defenseman Cale Makar won the Calder Trophy as the League’s top rookie.
“The excitement level is through the roof just to get another chance to win another Stanley Cup,” Saad said. “I loved my time in Chicago. It’s a great city and a great organization, but we were kind of not really Cup contenders. Getting traded to a team that every year you play against and you’re like, ‘Wow, this team has a chance to win every year,’ and now to be a part of that team, it’s a jolt of rejuvenation, really.”
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