The Chicago Blackhawks are off to a 1-1-1 start to the 2013-14 season, a disappointing mark for the defending champions, if for no other reason than the fact that each game presented a potential win, in which they simply faded late. Obviously there’s no reason for panic in Chicago, with 79 contests remaining on the year.
While the Hawks may not have gotten the results they were looking for in their first trio of games, they’ve gotten star performances from several players. They’re waiting on a few of their stars to still step up and produce, but at least one young player has stepped in and more than made up for a lack of production from the top six.
The young player in question is Brandon Saad. A Calder Trophy finalist last season, after piecing together a very successful rookie campaign, Saad is off to a fantastic start to the season this year. Through three games, he’s notched four points, with all four coming in the first two games of the season.
Of course, as we saw last year, Saad’s play goes beyond his point production. He’s a nightmare matchup for opposing teams, possessing a deadly combination of size and speed. He’s spent a great deal of time in the offensive zone, and it’s his play that has probably made this Blackhawks’ third line probably look better on paper than it actually has.
Saad may not reach an elite level during his career, but he’s going to be a very dangerous offensive player for a very long time. Not to mention the fact that his defensive play is coming along as well. We’re seeing some outstanding hockey from him early on, and he’s noticeable on nearly ever shift.
It’ll be interesting to see if the impending move to right wing will have any sort of negative effect on Saad’s hot start to the year. One thing is for certain, and that’s the fact that the Blackhawks might just have another piece to add to their core with the steal of a second round pick.