Chicago drafts former Pine-Richland hockey standout
Brandon Saad not only got a taste of playing on the big stage early on in his hockey career, but he felt what it was like to own the moment.
In 2008, Saad — a freshman on the Pine-Richland Rams team — netted a hat trick in the Rams’ third straight Penguins Cup title game victory in Mellon Arena.
Saad will now have a chance to tour many of the NHL rinks. The Chicago Blackhawks picked him up, using the 43rd overall pick of the NHL draft — the 13th pick in Round Two — to acquire him.
“I was real excited … it has not sunk in yet,” Saad said. “It will probably take a few days, so right now, I am just enjoying the time with my family.”
Through much of the predraft process, Saad was slated to go in the first round, but with the run on centers (12) and defensemen (12), the left-winger waited. He became the fifth true left-winger selected.
“It’s an honor just to get picked,” Saad said. “You never know what a team is thinking. It is definitely a special thing when your name is called.”
Since his days at Pine-Richland, Saad spent a season with the Mahoning Valley Phantoms of the NAHL, followed by a season with the U.S. National Development team. Last season, he played for the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL.
“My time there helped me mature as a person, and having to leave home made me more responsible. Luckily, Chicago saw the talent in me.”
Saad is getting ready for the summer camps and tryouts the Blackhawks require of draft picks. From there, he could land with the Echo’s Toledo Walleye, the Hal’s Rockford Ice Hogs in Illinois, or perhaps make the Blackhawks squad.
Since 2008, Saad has scored 68 goals and notched 60 assists in 130 regular-season games.