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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Brandon Saad

Brandon Saad is quite possibly the biggest enigma of the entire draft.

He came into the season as a possible top 10 pick in many circles. In my preseason survey of OHL general Managers, he was ranked second behind Matt Puempel as the top forward eligible from the OHL (North American).

Here are our preseason comments on Saad :

Big, agility, 3 zone player, physically dominating, goal scorer, play maker. These are all words used to describe Saad. One would think of a player with his natural ability to be a centerman, but the left shooting Saad plays either wing. He's as productive on his off wing as he is on his strong side.

Saad had a good start to the OHL season. By the end of December he had 20 goals and 17 assists in 32 games. Saad then missed the cut for Team USA at the World Junior Championships and things started heading south. He finished his remaining 27 games with just 7 goals and 11 assists.

Saad came back to life in the playoffs however. In a 4 game sweep of the Guelph Storm he notched 4 goals and 4 assists. In a seven game heartbreaking loss to the Windsor Spitfires he added another 3 goals and 5 assists to finish third on his squad in scoring.

Maybe it was the length of the OHL season that had an effect on Saad. Maybe it was that he missed 9 games. But you can't help but be intrigued by the potential that he has. Even with the bad second half that he had, he was almost a point per game player in the regular season, and accomplished just that in the playoffs.

We had Saad ranked high on our list, but he began to drop with us just like he had with everyone. He could go in the 21 to 30 range in the NHL Entry Draft, but it won't come as a surprise if someone takes a chance just based on his potential in the middle range of the first round.

Saad was again invited to Team USA's evaluation camp for the 2012 World Junior Championships.

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