Chicago, Ill. – The Chicago Blackhawks, the NHL affiliate of the Rockford IceHogs, announced today that they have acquired forward Brandon Saad, goaltender Anton Forsberg and a fifth-round selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Artemi Panarin, forward Tyler Motte and a sixth-round selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Motte, 22, split time between Chicago and Rockford in 2016-17, concluding the campaign with 4g-3a-7pts in 33 NHL games with the Blackhawks and 10g-6a-16pts in 43 AHL contests with the IceHogs. The Port Huron, Mich. native made his professional debut with five points (2g, 3a) in his first five games for the Hogs during the 2015-16 campaign, before netting two goals in three postseason tilts during the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Prior to his pro debut, Motte capped a standout collegiate career at the University of Michigan with a B1G 10 Championship and as a finalist for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award (presented to best player in collegiate hockey). He amassed 50g-55a-105pts in 107 career games with the Wolverines from 2013-16.
Saad, 24, played 31 games for the IceHogs in the 2012-13 season, posting 8g-12a-20pts. He recently completed his sixth season in the National Hockey League after having spent the last two seasons with Columbus. Last season, the forward appeared in all 82 games, tallying 24 goals and 29 assists. His points and goals ranked third on the Blue Jackets during the 2016-17 season and he tied a career-high in assists. He also had 53 points (31G, 22A) during the 2015-16 season—his first with Columbus—including a career-high 31 goals to lead the team in that category.
In a separate transaction, the Blackhawks traded former IceHogs defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes. The 30-year-old blue-liner played 99 games for Rockford from 2007-09, tallying 6g-25a-31pts. He has played his entire 10-year NHL career with Chicago and was a member of three Stanley Cup champion teams (2010, 2013 and 2015). In 623 career games, he has scored 23 goals and notched 120 assists. He holds the franchise record for most playoff games played by a defenseman (128) and has 2g-26a-28pts in postseason play. A native of Eksjo, Sweden, Hjalmarsson represented his native country with a silver medal in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and with a bronze medal in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Season Tickets for 2017-18 on Sale Now: Don’t miss a moment of the action by reserving your seats for the IceHogs 19th season of professional hockey and 11th as the top AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. Opening night is Oct. 14 and ticket packages begin as low as $105 for a seven-game mini pack. Please contact us at (815) 847-6399 or visit icehogs.com to claim your spots for this upcoming season.