Yesterday, it was reported that Brandon Saad and Artem Anisimov may be on the trade block. I honestly can’t say that I blame the Blackhawks. Both Saad and Anisimov have been essentially nonexistent over the past 2 seasons.

Based on production alone, their salaries are entirely unjustifiable as well. I don’t doubt that StanBo is getting feelers for Saad and Anisimov since he’s actually started winning a few trades lately. I know — it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. StanBo was able to unload possibly the worst signing of all time in Brandon Manning, as well as Jan Rutta and Nick Schmaltz. Seems like Stan is taking the whole “New Year, New Me” thing pretty seriously and I like it.

Why Trading Brandon Saad and Artem Anisimov Makes Sense

Let’s start off with the most logical reason for trading Brandon Saad and Artem Anisimov — production. Both players have been almost nonexistent over the past two seasons. Brandon Saad went from a 1st line caliber player to a maybe on the 3rd line, if he’s lucky. It’s safe to say Saad’s second stint has been a dud. If you take a look at his career stats, you’ll notice that Saad has had a serious dropoff in production.

                    Scor Scor        Scor Shot  Ice           Ice
Season       Tm  GP    G    A PTS +/- PIM   S%  TOI  ATOI  TK  GV
2011-12     CHI   2    0    0   0   0   0  0.0   28 14:01   2   0
2012-13     CHI  46   10   17  27  17  12 10.2  757 16:28  26  15
2013-14     CHI  78   19   28  47  20  20 11.9 1271 16:17  50  24
2014-15     CHI  82   23   29  52   7  12 11.3 1415 17:15  46  29
2015-16     CBJ  78   31   22  53   1  14 13.3 1343 17:13  33  31
2016-17     CBJ  82   24   29  53  23   8 11.4 1396 17:02  43  29
2017-18     CHI  82   18   17  35 -10  14  7.6 1435 17:30  45  16
2018-19     CHI  46   13   12  25  -4   8 11.5  812 17:39  21  14
6 yrs       CHI 336   83  103 186  30  66 10.2 5718 17:01 190  98
2 yrs       CBJ 160   55   51 106  24  22 12.4 2739 17:07  76  60
Career    8 yrs 496  138  154 292  54  88 11.0 8457 17:03 266 158

Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table

Artem Anisimov hasn’t been the same ever since StanBo traded his former linemate and Russian comrade, Artemi Panarin. If you zero in on Anisimov during games, you don’t notice him at all. That’s mostly because he’s too slow to keep up and the camera skips right over him most of the time. When you take a closer look at his stats, you’ll be doing some double takes but not for a good reason.

                     Scor Scor        Scor Shot   Ice                        Ice
Season        Tm  GP    G    A PTS +/- PIM   S%   TOI  ATOI  FO% BLK HIT  TK  GV
2008-09      NYR   1    0    0   0   0   0  0.0     9  9:27 40.0   0   0   1   0
2009-10      NYR  82   12   16  28  -2  32  9.7  1058 12:54 44.9  41  45  28   9
2010-11      NYR  82   18   26  44   3  20  9.5  1329 16:12 44.5  45  74  46  16
2011-12      NYR  79   16   20  36  12  34 12.1  1217 15:24 46.7  46  75  37  14
2012-13      CBJ  35   11    7  18  -6  12 16.2   574 16:25 48.9  24  13  17   5
2013-14      CBJ  81   22   17  39  -2  20 13.6  1344 16:36 49.4  54  31  51  18
2014-15      CBJ  52    7   20  27  -6   8  8.0   852 16:23 44.5  26  33  24  21
2015-16      CHI  77   20   22  42   8  12 16.5  1393 18:05 44.2  40  53  28  14
2016-17      CHI  64   22   23  45   9  30 21.0  1142 17:51 45.1  27  18  35  16
2017-18      CHI  72   20   11  31 -17  22 15.4  1209 16:47 45.7  40  15  18  26
2018-19      CHI  44    8   13  21  -1   8 10.4   728 16:32 47.5  16  18  27   9
4 yrs        NYR 244   46   62 108  13  86 10.3  3613 14:48 45.1 132 194 112  39
4 yrs        CHI 257   70   69 139  -1  72 16.2  4471 17:24 45.2 123 104 108  65
3 yrs        CBJ 168   40   44  84 -14  40 12.6  2770 16:29 48.6 104  77  92  44
Career    11 yrs 669  156  175 331  -2 198 13.0 10855 16:14 46.0 359 375 312 148

Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table

If the numbers by themselves don’t sway you, there’s also bad contracts that weigh into the decision to make a trade now. Brandon Saad earned himself a nice payday from Columbus back in 2015 and he was earning every bit of that $6 mil until he came back to Chicago.

Since returning, Saad hasn’t backed up that salary with his performance on the ice. He has 2 more years on his contract, so trading him now makes sense. When you put the stats next to the money, it just doesn’t add up. Check it out for yourself and I think you’ll agree.

Provided by Capfriendly.com

Why the Time Is Right to Strike a Deal

As the trade deadline draws nearer (February 25) and the Blackhawks fall out of the playoff race, there is no better time than now to strike a deal. The Blackhawks will be sellers this season and besides Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, maybe Duncan Keith and a couple other players, there are not many trade options available.

Artem Anisimov has a modified no-trade clause and that limits the Blackhawks’ options even more. He would have to submit a list of 10 teams that he would approve being traded to. StanBo just couldn’t help but hand out another NMC, but he’s working on being the best version of himself lately, hence all of the good trades. Here’s the breakdown on Anisimov’s contract:

Provided by Capfriendly.com

I would strike now while Saad still has some shred of trade value left and stockpile assets for the future. The Blackhawks are going to get way more value back for Saad than they will with Anisimov. That’s why I’m thinking it may be best to throw both players into a package. The Blackhawks’ biggest position of need is forward — Top 9, maybe Top 6 depending on the cost.

Expectations Heading Into the Trade Deadline

Now, I know most of you will say defense should be a higher priority than forwards, but it looks like StanBo has a few winners waiting in the wings like Adam Boqvist, Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Jake Ryczek and more. These guys will be cracking the NHL roster starting as early as next season, so there’s no need to overpay for a Top 4 defenseman at this time. There are potentially multiple future Top 4 defensemen already in the organization.

Provided by Eliteprospects.com

The Blackhawks aren’t in a position to mortgage their future on a rental player, unlike a couple of years ago during their historic Stanley Cup run from 2010-2015. I really believe StanBo will opt to go the safe route at the trade deadline and possibly pick up some more young players with upside and try to pry away a draft pick or two in the process. The Blackhawks are also projected to finish with a Top 4 draft pick this season.

When you pair that Top 4 draft pick with the right offseason signings — cough, Panarin, cough — a quick turnaround may be in the cards for our Blackhawks. Maybe even as soon as next season, if everything goes according to plan…

My plan:

Stan has actually made some really surprising, but clever trades this season. Dylan Strome has proved that sometimes, all you need is a change of scenery to turn things around. StanBo was able to right his wrongs by unloading Brandon Manning and Jan Rutta, and also, avoided overpaying for Nick Schmaltz.

Although StanBo should have never made some of these moves in the first place, I’m glad he’s at least willing to admit he was wrong through his recent trades. I would like to see this trend continue and I’m sure you would as well. These next few weeks should be very interesting, to say the least. I wonder what else StanBo has up his sleeves.

For more Blackhawks news and updates, follow the author @Certified_TonyG on Twitter.