Avalanche traded Nikita Zadorov
The Colorado Avalanche traded Nikita Zadorov to the Chicago Blackhawks. Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

After re-signing Andre Burakovsky and Val Nichushkin, it is now time for the Colorado Avalanche fans to say goodbye to Nikita Zadorov. On Saturday afternoon, the Colorado Avalanche traded Zadorov and Anton Lindholm to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Brandon Saad and defenseman Dennis Gilbert, as Elliotte Friedman first reported.

Zadorov finished the season with 13 points in 64 points and, as a defensive defenseman, was often given the task of shutting down the opposition’s top players; however, his play was sporadic, to say the least, and was healthy scratched by coach Jared Bednar several times.

With Bowen Byram likely to enter the league next season and Connor Timmins showing he can play during the playoffs, it was always likely the Avalanche moved a defender during the off-season. The important thing was the return with a top-six forward needed. In Brandon Saad, they have got that.

Saad was a part of the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup-winning teams in 2013 and 2015 and is coming into the last year of a $5 million Average Annual Value (AAV). The Blackhawks will retain $1 million of that salary in the trade. Last season Saad put up 33 points in 58 games and recorded three 50 point seasons between 2014 and 2017 with the Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Anton Lindholm played the majority of last season with the AHL Colorado Eagles, making only four NHL appearances for the Avalanche. Dennis Gilbert played 21 games with the Blackhawks and 31 games with their AHL affiliate Rockford Icehogs.

Zadorov immediately signed his qualifying offer with Chicago putting him under contract for one year at $3.2 million.

“In Brandon we are acquiring a two-time Stanley Cup champion who brings veteran leadership and experience to our team. He is a proven goal scorer and at age 27, is in the prime of his careerWe are also adding a sturdy, young defenseman in Dennis who plays a physical game and will help our depth on the blue line. We thank Nikita and Anton for their time with the Avalanche and wish them the best of luck moving forward.”

GM Joe Sakic on the Avalanche trading Nikita Zadorov and acquiring Brandon Saad

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