Columbus also received Michael Paliotta and Alex Broadhurst in the deal while sending forwards Artem Anisimov, Marko Dano, Corey Tropp, and Jeremy Morin, along with a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft the other way.
Saad's entry-level contract was set to expire July 1, and other teams would have the option to put an offer sheet in for him. It was believed by many that the Blackhawks would deal veteran forward Patrick Sharp who is making $5.9 million US per year, to make room for Saad's next deal.
However, the Hawks decided to deal the 22-year-old, who has contributed with 34 points in 67 career playoff games.
With the mega extensions of Jonathan Toews of Patrick Kane's going into effect next season, the Hawks are up against the salary cap, and needed to move a body out.
Saad scored 23 goals and added 29 assists in 82 games this past season, while notching 11 points in 23 games for the champs. The 2011 second-rounder has 126 points in 208 career games thus far and was a part of two of the last three cup wins for the Hawks.
If the Blue Jackets are successful in signing Saad, a native of Pittsburgh, he will join Ryan Johansen, Ryan Murray, Nick Foligno, and Sergei Bobrovsky forming a strong core in Columbus.