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Possible First Round Pick: Brandon Saad

Brandon Saad (Via

Brandon Saad (Via

The Rangers currently have five defensemen under the age of 28 on their roster and two more top prospects on the way, so it’s very likely New York will be looking to add some offensive firepower with its first-round pick, No. 15 overall in the NHL Draft.

Between now and June 24th, we’ll take a look at some of the forwards that the Rangers might be thinking about taking on draft day.  Today, we look at…

Brandon Saad

HT: 6-1

WT: 208

Pos: LW

Shoots: L

Birthday: 10/27/92

Team: Saginaw, OHL

2009-2010 stats:

12g, 14a, 18PIM, +15 (USA, USHL)

29g, 29a, 63gp, 34PIM (USA, U18)

2010-2011 stats: 27g, 28a, 59gp, 47PIM, +8

2010-2011 playoffs: 3g, 9a, 12gp, 10PIM profile > 



The Hockey News: 14

CSS: 19 Midterm Rank: 8

ISS: 24 

TSN: 22 Midterm Rank: 8 

TSN (Craig Button): 21 

The Scouting Report: 40 Midterm Rank: 11

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch: 20

Corey Pronman: 22

ESPN: 28


Highlight Reel > 


What They’re Saying:

THN – “There are scouts who believe that, from a physical standpoint, Saad is ready to jump to the NHL next season.  His game is raw and could use seasoning, but scouts like what they see.  ‘He’s a horse,’ one said.  ‘He’s man-strong and he’s smart.’  And while he put up respectable totals this season, he didn’t do as much as some people would have liked.  Expectations ran high for Saad when he chose the OHL over the college route after coming from the U.S. national development program. He scored 20 goals in the first half and just seven the rest of the way.  ‘I don’t think he’s had the type of year that people expected,’ another scout said.  ‘A lot of people expected him to walk into the OHL and get 50 goals.  That’s how good he looked the past two years.  I don’t know what it was, but he didn’t meet expectations.’  Scouts do like how strong he is on the puck and how responsible he is in all zones.”

The Scouting Report – "Suffice to say, TSR’s thoughts on Saad have plummeted as the 2010/2011 season progressed. We had very high expectations for Saad this year; his first in the OHL, but have never seen the type of game that warrants the pre-season hype. Saad is a big winger with good speed, a hard shot, and a fairly good head for the game, but he lacks the drive you need to be a top line player at the next level. Saad shies away from contact despite being a big player and never really uses his body to his advantage. He doesn’t drive the front of the net enough and just isn’t willing to pay the price. All is not lost with Saad, as he does have goal scoring talent, but he needs to show a lot more if he wants to have that opportunity in the NHL."

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch – “Saad started well, but hit the wall after scoring 20 goals over the first half of the campaign and looking every bit the scoring winger who could bring offense in bunches with the physical grit and tenacity every NHL club covets. He finished with 27 markers and 55 points in 59 games which isn't bad on the surface, but is also woefully short of what people expected of him. And then there's a concern about his skating. A year ago, one NHL scout watched him in the U18s and marveled at his mobility and power. Now, that same scout is decidedly perplexed.  ‘I don't know how it happens, but Saad actually looks like he's gotten slower,’ the scout told B2011DW recently. ‘He's regressed. I try to give him the benefit of the doubt and all, but that's what I saw this year and it's definitely not a good thing.’  Red Line scouts shared that NHL evaluator's opinion, putting Saad in the ‘Falling’ category: ‘Only four goals in his final 22 regular season games and mediocre in the first playoff round. Oddly, his skating seems to have regressed.’  Regressed. The same word from two different sources.   And in scouting circles, that is what you call a red flag.  We've also heard that he wasn't in a very good situation at Saginaw, though nobody we spoke to was comfortable enough even going on the record to talk about the Spirit and what Saad may have been dealing with. If the rumors/hearsay are true, you can understand the detrimental effect such distractions may have had on his production and overall play. How much of an excuse you can allow that to factor in for the down season, however, is up for debate.  This is what leads us to the final point on Saad. There is no questioning that he's shown some extremely high upside in the past. The team who thinks he's closer to that player and not the one who appeared to be sleepwalking through the final quarter of the season and playoffs is the one that will spend a first-round pick on Saad, likely a top-20. At some point, the potential reward and value of taking Saad, pretty much seen as a consensus top-five coming into the season is going to outweigh any of the concerns about what has gone on for him this season.”

Corey Pronman - "Brandon Saad is a very projectable big body winger who made his mark last year with the USA U-18 team but not as much in the OHL this season. His most appealing tool is his skating ability, as he can reach above-average straight-line speeds and when combined with his physical assets makes it very easy to see him in an NHL uniform. His puck skills are decent, with his contributions in that area coming from good puck protection along the sideboards in the cycle game and having moderate passing ability, be it from pushing the puck up or operating from the perimeter on the power play. He leans into his shots well and has the ability to score goals from mid-distances although I'm not sure if I ever see the tool being better than above-average if that. Saad has a good frame and doesn't shy from going to the physical areas of the ice and his battle effort is notable. Saad's hockey sense is decent and I'm not swung either way by it. He can excel defensively due to his natural tools such as on the penalty kill where his skating, aggressiveness and frame help him pressure puck-carriers and fill lanes effectively. I'm not sure if he has the upside to project as anything past a second liner and while he has some development left it's not that hard to see him in that slot within a handful of years."

True Hockey – “The 6-foot-2 winger is described as a truculent power forward that plays a responsible two way game and excels with the puck in tight areas. He is a strong skater with long strides and uses his speed to cut wide on opposing defenseman and drive hard to the net. He is also very physical and is known to rough up the opposition in an effort to get the puck to the net. Scouts are most impressed with his frame and ability to step right into the NHL next season. He is more physically developed than many of the other forwards in his draft class, which might prompt a team to take him over another player who may take several years to develop.” – “Saad was No. 2 in the OHL preliminary rankings, No. 8 in CSS midterm rankings of North American skaters and No. 19 on the final list. His struggles and injury have been discussed in this space previously. He had been mentioned in the same breath as Gabriel Landeskogat the start of the year. One scout's take: ‘Saginaw was a mess this year. That had to drag him down. But I think we saw this big, strong, physically mature kid in the Ann Arbor [USA Hockey program] last season and we thought it was a matter of time before he'd throw his weight around and just dictate play in the O. It never happened. He played smaller than he measures. He never seemed to make the transition at all. Would it have worked out for him someplace else? Maybe. But it was up to him to make it work out better than it did [in Saginaw].’  Stockwatch: Will still be around at No. 25 overall, maybe drop out of the first round.” 

Jess Rubenstein – “Saad has good size but his stock is falling because most think he will be a 3rd liner.”


Mock Drafts:

Adam Kimelman, – 21 

Mike Morreale, – 23 

Steven Hoffner, – N/A

Deven Persaud, - 22 – 17 

Gary Joyce, ESPN – N/A 

Mark Seidel, CBC – 16 

Hockey's Future - 23

The Hockey News - 18


Thoughts: Saad’s tumble down draft boards this season is alarming.  He was widely considered one of the best draft prospects heading into the season, but now scouting reports make frequent mention of lack of effort and skating issues.  He has an NHL-ready body, but there are causes for concern with the rest of Saad’s game.  If he figures it out, he could be the steal of the draft.  But Saad seems to have some pretty big bust potential.

The Rangers last used a first-round pick on an OHL player in 2007 when they took Michael Del Zotto.  They spent three choices on OHL players last year.  New York may be looking for more of a sure thing should the Rangers choose to select a power forward as the Hugh Jessiman disaster is not yet forgotten. 


Season Review:

Breaking Down The Defense >

Breaking Down The Goalies >

Breaking Down The Offense >

Breaking Down The Prospects >

How Three Free Agent Signings In 2007 Have Shaped The Eastern Conference >

Spotlight On Glen Sather >

Spotlight On John Tortorella >


Player Reviews:

Spotlight On Mats Zuccarello >

Spotlight On Brian Boyle >

Spotlight On Matt Gilroy >

Spotlight On Ruslan Fedotenko >

Spotlight On Brandon Prust >

Spotlight On Bryan McCabe >

Spotlight On Alex Frolov >

Spotlight On Michael Del Zotto >

Spotlight On Martin Biron >

Spotlight On Brandon Dubinsky >

Spotlight On Marc Staal >

Spotlight On Steve Eminger >


Possible First Round Pick:

Zack Phillips >

Sven Bartschi >

Mark Scheifele >

Mika Zibanejad > 

Mark McNeill >

Brandon Saad >



Posted by Kevin Baumer | May 20, 2011 at 09:47 am

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