Saad open to discussing new contract

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad understood Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews’ contracts had to come first, but he wouldn’t mind now getting his own deal squared away.

Saad, 21, is set to become a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season. He said Friday he and his agent haven’t had any contract negotiations with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman.

“Obviously, it was pretty busy with the deals we got done, and that’s huge for our team,” Saad said at the Blackhawks Convention on Friday. “Really just focused on preparing for this season, and we’ll deal with that when it comes. If it happens, great. It’s always nice to have that security and feel comfortable that you’ve re-signed.

“You play hockey and you focus on hockey. To get it out of the way, it’s always nice instead of having to wait until next summer. We’ll see how that goes. Right now I’m just focused on preparing for the season.”

Saad is coming off his second full season with the Blackhawks. He had 19 goals, 28 assists and was a plus-20 in the regular season last season. He played on the first, second and third lines at different times throughout the season.

Bowman wouldn’t set a timetable for Saad’s new contract, but it was on his to-do list going forward.

“We’ve tried to be consistent with when we identify players who are a big part of what we’ve done, [and then] we start talking about that,” Bowman said on Friday. “It’s been a busy time for us. We had the draft and free agency, and we’re just finishing prospect camp. We’re going to have some other things to look at over the next few weeks.

“Brandon’s come in at a young age and played a big role on our team and obviously that’s something we want to continue going forward,” Bowman continued. “He’s a special player ... to be able to accomplish what he’s done at his age. The exciting thing for all of us is that he just keeps getting better. We certainly haven’t seen the best of Brandon Saad. yet.

“He had a great season, and I would expect he would be one of the players who take an even bigger step next year in terms of a bigger role and asserting himself as a top player in the league.”

Bowman has re-signed players during the season in the past. Just last season, he re-signed Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig before they were able to become restricted free agents.

Saad played some of his best hockey alongside Kane at the end of last season during the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings. Saad had four goals and five assists during the series. He’s expected to join Kane and center Brad Richards on the second line to start next season.