As we sit around and wonder whether or not the Chicago Blackhawks plan to do anything at all this summer, we already know of at least one reason that they feel they may not need to do so much: Brandon Saad.
Saad is currently attending his second prospect camp since being drafted by the Blackhawks, and if everything goes according to plan, he won’t be attending another one next season. Saad already has a leg up on his prospect brethren, having received a cup of coffee with the Hawks last year, both at the beginning of the season and in the Hawks’ opening round series of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, against the Phoenix Coyotes.
In that limited amount of time, Saad is looking like one of the, if not the biggest, steals of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. After he surprisingly slipped out of the first round, the Hawks managed to grab him at no. 43 overall, which he now wears as a reminder as the number on his sweater.
At just 19, Saad is already physically mature enough to play in the NHL. He’s shown that he can hang, even in a series as tough as the one against Phoenix when he appeared in two games. His 6’1″, 200 pound frame certainly helps as well.
After posting 76 points in 44 games with Saginaw, it’s pretty clear that Brandon Saad doesn’t need to return to juniors this season. He has nothing left to prove there. Right now, it’s just a matter of if he’s bound for the Rockford grind to start the season, or if he will stick with the Blackhawks to kick off 2012-2013.
Heading into training camp, Saad is going to be given every opportunity to make the team and skate minutes in the top six. Blackhawks’ brass is obviously high on the kid and has already talked him up again during prospect camp.
Some extra work with the Icehogs tos tart the season probably wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but unless the Blackhawks decide to change the current direction of the summer and do a little adding, it will be very surprising to not see Brandon Saad suiting up against the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 13th.