Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad to Blue Jackets in 7-player deal
James Guillory / USA TODAY Sports

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The Chicago Blackhawks have traded Brandon Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Chicago receives Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Jeremy Morin, Corey Tropp, and a fourth-round pick in 2016 in exchange for Saad and prospects Michael Paliotta and Alex Broadhurst, according to the Blue Jackets' official website.

Saad was set to enter July as one of the top restricted free agents on the market, making him a target for offer sheets. Chicago's cap commitments would make it difficult for them to match a sizable offer sheet without trading a big contract like Patrick Sharp or Bryan Bickell.

Related: Ryan Johansen on Saad trade: 'That's a game-changer right there'

The trade comes as a surprise after Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman told Saad "we're going to win many together" when Chicago won its third Stanley Cup in six seasons.

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Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad to Blue Jackets in 7-player deal
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