Wednesday night’s victory was the 82nd game of Brandon Saad’s career, equaling a full, normal regular season. What have we seen from the young forward?
Through 82 contests, Saad has scored 21 goals and added 30 assists. He has also been credited with 65 hits, 23 blocked shots and 55 takeaways, has earend 22 penalty minutes, and is plus-34.
Saad was the 43rd overall selection at the 2011 NHL Draft, but has been one of the most productive players from that class to date.
Only five players from the 2011 Draft have played more than 82 games to date:
- Sean Couturier (8th overall – 155 games),
- Gabriel Landeskog (2nd overall – 147 games),
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (1st overall – 133 games),
- Adam Larsson (4th overall – 122 games)
- Andrew Shaw (139th overall – 117 games)
And only four have more than Saad’s 51 points to date: Nugent-Hopkins (100), Landeskog (91), Shaw (58) and Couturier (57). Of those four, only Landeskog – the top overall pick – has produced at a better rate (0.75 points per game) than Saad (0.62).
Coach Joel Quenneville has used Saad on all four lines and in almost every situation, including both the power play and penalty kill. Whether he’s on a line with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews, which was the case for most of last year’s regular season, or with Andrew Shaw and Jeremy Morin recently, he continues to produce.
What’s more, Saad’s becoming a more complete player. He already has more takeaways (29) this year than he did last season (26), and he is on pace to double his hits and blocked shots totals as well.
Saad is certainly on the radar for USA Hockey as they put together their roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Based on his work in Chicago through 82 regular season games, the Blackhawks may have stolen the gem of the 2011 Draft after 42 other players were called.