It was only inevitable that the USA Hockey brass would reject a few players when picking their Olympic team. Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks, at least in some eyes, should not have been one of them. In just two years in the NHL, Saad has shown exceptional skills both on offense and defense. In the immediate and possibly distant future, Saad should use this snub as incentive to get even better.
Given that he’s 21 and only in his second year with the team, it would have been a big surprise if he’d gotten the Olympic call. Saad has competed in international competition, most recently the Under-18 Championships in 2010, where he won the gold medal with Team USA. But given how meticulously this team was selected, it was obvious that Saad did not have what it took in the eyes of USA Hockey.
He is still young and growing, so this gives him an excellent opportunity to raise his game to a higher level. Indeed, Saad had been on a roll before the Olympic break, although taking part in the shutout against the Phoenix Coyotes certainly didn’t help matters much as far as his Olympic hopes went.
Still, being young and still growing, there is plenty of room for Saad to become better, something he will be looking to do coming out of the break and going forward.