It was just this past offseason when the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets made a significant trade. The Blackhawks brought back forward Brandon Saad, who they traded to Columbus after the 2015 season, while also getting 25-year old goalie Anton Forsberg. Meanwhile, the Jackets got Artemi Panarin and Tyler Motte from the Blackhawks in exchange.

When the deal was made there were mixed feelings. Saad was a key member of the Blackhawks from 2013-2015, a span which saw the team win two Stanley Cups. However, Panarin proved to be an elite scorer as he scored 61 goals and 151 points in two years in Chicago.

While neither team is dominating right now, Columbus is in the playoffs, currently as the first wild card, while Chicago is in last place.

Why the trade made sense for Chicago

There is a decent amount of frustration among Blackhawks fans over losing Panarin. Right now in Columbus he has 12 goals and 39 points in 48 games. Brandon Saad was coming back hoping that he and Jonathan Toews could reunite and find consistency again on the first line. So far, it has been inconsistent. Saad has 13 goals on the season, however only 23 total points in 47 games. The overall scoring has been inconsistent, and the return of Saad may not be as fulfilling as was hoped, but it is understandable as to why the Blackhawks made the trade.

The contract situation is one notable thing. Panarin (26) is set to make $6 million this year and next year before becoming a free agent. Saad (25) will have a $6 million cap hit, but is under team control through 20-21. After Panarin's time would be up with Chicago, he would require a new contract that would be worth a hefty price.

Saad at least will have more years of team control. Anton Forsberg is another thing. Yeah, he has not been overly amazing, but at the time the Blackhawks had no other goaltender depth in the organization. Corey Crawford is an elite goalie, but he had no backup and nobody notable was really on the market after Scott Darling departed.

The last major factor is what kind of player Saad is. While Panarin is a better scorer, Saad is a very solid two-way player. The Blackhawks lost Marian Hossa because of the horrific skin condition, and a player like Saad made sense for the team. He had been called a "Mini-Hossa" during his first stint with the team. Also, while Saad may not be Patrick Kane level, his postseason numbers with the Blackhawks were good. During the last run in 2015, he scored eight goals and 11 points in 23 games.

Future of the players

Panarin will continue to play well in Columbus. His pure skill has helped him continue to grow as a player and help the Jackets to another postseason berth. As for Saad, it may be less clear.

If the Blackhawks do not make the playoffs and major changes are made, who is to say he may not be involved in a trade? Not saying it will happen, but not saying it will not either.

The results of this year's Blackhawks are frustrating, no doubt. There was more hope that Saad and Toews would see results like they once did. However, Saad is still not playing that well, and the lack of production is not the only problem with the team. The defense has been really bad and they have only one of their consistent players (Patrick Kane) currently healthy, while their other player (Corey Crawford) has not been.