The Chicago Blackhawks’ season was one with many surprises. No one expected the amount of success, or contribution from some of the team’s depth players. Brandon Saad falls into that category. After getting a tease of NHL action in 2012, Saad returned to Chicago, primed for his first full season as a Blackhawk. Saad immediately fit in, playing on the first line with Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa. Saad’s grit and work ethic was a perfect match for the Blackhawks’ stars, and the line immediately contributed.
Saad had two game-winners in the regular season for Chicago, one of which came short-handed. The 20-year old proved his worth, scoring 10 goals and adding 17 assists for 27 points in 46 games. In the playoffs, Saad was bumped back down in the lineup thanks to Patrick Kane, but still contributed, scoring one goal and 6 points in the Blackhawks’ 23-game Cup run. Saad’s season earned him a nomination for the Calder Trophy as one of the league’s top rookies.
Now that the short rookie campaign is over, Saad will search for consistency in 2013-14. His first 18 games of the season saw only 3 goals, but Saad turned on the jets shortly afterward and had an outstanding second half. His rookie-leading plus-minus shows that he is a contributor all over the ice, not just in the point column. Saad was a key cog in the Blackhawks’ penalty kill, spending time on the second unit. Saad’s maturity will not need an improvement, as the young gun earned the nickname ‘Man-Child” thanks to his mature game on and off the ice.
With a great season in his rear-view, I put Saad’s Over/Under at 22 Goals, 23 Assists. Saad will also have One Great Playoff Mullet to his credit, providing the Blackhawks qualify for the post-season.
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