The Chicago Blackhawks will need Brandon Saad to find some consistency in 2019-20.
The battles throughout training camp have really driven the narrative around camp and one player who is happy to be sitting outside the spotlight is forward Brandon Saad.
After a disappointing return to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2017-2018 season, Saad had a solid bounce-back campaign last season.
After being bounced around the lineup in 2018-19, he seems to have found a nice home on the third line.
Something that has not been discussed much since it was assembled is what appears to be the opening night third line, comprised of Saad and newcomer Dominik Kubalik on the wings with a rotation of David Kampf and Anton Wedin as the center of that line.
Although the center position is still in flux, the two wing spots seem set in stone going into the season. This is something Saad will look to use to his advantage as the season unfolds.
Brandon Saad was expected to be cemented as Jonathan Toews’ wing on the first line when he was reacquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Since then, Saad really hasn’t lived up to the top line billing and has cycled throughout the lineup, finding it difficult to call a line home.
More from Blackhawk Up
- Blackhawks: Three Noticeable Improvements in Comeback Win vs Blues
- Blackhawks: Key Takeaways from 3-2 win over the Blues
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
This season, it appears as though Colliton sees Saad as that spark plug on the third line who can create great offensive chances, play a solid defensive game, and provide on special teams.
The pairing of Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad is also quite interesting in how they are both offensively dangerous in completely different ways.
Saad creates a lot with his speed while Kubalik has a great shot and can really score from anywhere on the ice.
This combination of weapons could be huge in creating scoring parity that the Blackhawks have lacked over the last two seasons.
An even more interesting wrinkle to throw into this would be 2019 3rd overall pick, Kirby Dach.
A line of Kubalik, Dach, and Saad makes a tremendous amount of sense on paper considering Dach’s playmaking ability, Saad’s game-breaking ability, and the laser shot that Kubalik possesses.
The issue being that Dach still finds himself recovering from a concussion. Although the Blackhawks appear to want to give Dach a shot at the NHL this season, my gut is still telling me David Kampf will enter the season on that third line.
Dach is traveling with the Blackhawks to Europe and it honestly feels like Kampf is just a place holder on the third line.
Even with Dach taking his first full team practice in Berlin, it is tough to see him make the jump to centering Saad’s line.
Whether it is Dach, Kampf, or even Wedin, the Blackhawks seem to have found a place for Saad to live in the lineup.
Will Brandon Saad find himself playing with Toews and Kane in crunch time? Maybe, but he really has found a home on the third line.
A place where he can thrive and a place where he will still make a significant impact on the Chicago Blackhawks’ playoff hopes.