Chicago Blackhawks: Expectations for Brandon Saad in 2019-20
By Ryan Fedrau
Brandon Saad has been inconsistent since returning to the Chicago Blackhawks. Can he carry last season’s success into 2019-20?
Brandon Saad, 26, is heading into his 9th season in the NHL. In Saad’s last 4 seasons, he has racked up 188 points (96 G, 92 A) with 106 of them coming during his 2-year stint in Columbus.
It’s not hard to say that his last 2 seasons in Chicago have been a drop off from what we saw out of Saad in Columbus.
What has happened since then to make his game change so much? Saad was an impact player in Columbus, but he also played a bigger role there than he does in Chicago.
Brandon Saad — the Columbus Era
During the 2015-16 season, Brandon Saad had 53 points which was tied with Cam Atkinson for the team best, even with Saad missing 4 games.
In his 78 games, Saad led the team in scoring with 31 goals, which had him tied with James Neal and Tyler Toffoli for 16th best in the NHL at the time.
In 2016-17, Brandon Saad had another 53-point season which was the 3rd best on the Columbus Blue Jackets. Alexander Wennberg (59) and Cam Atkinson (62) were his only teammates that put up more points than him.
Brandon Saad’s 2nd Stint With Blackhawks
When Brandon Saad returned to Chicago for the 2017-18 NHL season, expectations were high for him, considering the team was looking for the same production out of him that had in Columbus.
Saad was finally a player that broke the 30-goal mark during a season and had three 50-point seasons in a row (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17).
Saad was placed back on the first line with his long-time linemate, Jonathan Toews. In his first game back, Saad scored his second career hat trick against the Penguins in a 10-1 blowout win for the Blackhawks.
Just as things were looking up for Saad, he would only go on to score 15 more times during the 2017-18 season.
Saad’s numbers dropping from a 53-point season the year before to a 35-point season. What caused that steep of a drop off in production?
I can’t seem to find an excuse for how bad his season was. During the 2017-18 season, he posted a career-low in points (not counting the 2013 shortened season), even when he shot the puck a career-high 237 times. Saad averaged 17:30 time on ice, also a career-high.
Brandon Saad had all of the chances to succeed and he just found himself falling down the depth chart game-by-game.
Last season, Brandon Saad started to pick things back up with a 47-point season (23 G, 24 A). Saad missed 2 games and still almost had his fourth 50-point season.
The team dealt with a lot of setbacks, but almost managed to squeak into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Now, with a new coach and a new gameplan for the 2019-20 season, Saad and other players are feeling confident with Jeremy Colliton behind the bench.
My 2019-20 Predictions for Brandon Saad
Brandon Saad should turn things around this season. With Saad only being 26-years-old, he still has a lot to learn and a bright future.
Unless Saad gets injured, he will score 30 times and get at least 30 assists this season. I am going bold with a 60-point season for Saad in 2019-20. Don’t let me down, Brandon!