Wednesday, June 15, 2011

E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120: Brandon Saad #25

By Eldon MacDonald

25. Brandon Saad - “The Syrian Connection” - LW - USA

Vitals: Size - 6’2”, 206 lb.; Shoots right; Born: 27-Oct-92 - Gibsonia, PA
Team: Saginaw, OHL
2010-11 Stats: 59-27-28-55-47-(+8) + OHL playoffs 12-3-8-11-10-(+0)
13 - hfboards Readers’ Poll
14 - The Hockey News per TSN
20 - Future Considerations Final Rankings
20 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
21 - Craig Button's Top 30 of 8-Jun-11
22 - Bob MacKenzie's June Poll of Scouts
22 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
22 - Dean Millard -The Pipeline Show Top 30
24 - ISS per TSN
24 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings (19th North American skater)
24 - Guy Flaming - The Pipeline Show Top 30
25 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
30 - McKeen's June Top 30
40 - The Scouting Report's Top 100 Skaters
Draft result:
43 - Chicago Black Hawks

Coming into this season in the OHL Brandon Saad (a player of Syrian descent - his father was born in Syria) had a better and longer resume than most players who were just graduating from junior hockey including:
  1. US under 14 National Championships - Winner of puck relay event and breakaway contest in the skills competition
  2. 2008-09 - NAHL - Rookie of the Year with Mahoning Valley
  3. 2008-09 - NAHL - First Line All-star with Mahoning Valley
  4. 2010-11 - US NDP U18 Team - Most goals - 29
  5. 2010-11 - US NDP U18 Team - Most points - 58
  6. 2010-11 - World U18’s - Gold Medal with Team USA (had six points in seven games)
So coming into this year the expectations were huge for Brandon, ISS had him at a top ten ranking for six months in a row and Bob MacKenzie’s January poll of scouts had him at eighth. And why wouldn’t they be, Brandon not only had the resume but the skills to back it up - NHL ready body, NHL type shot, NHL hands, solid defensive play, strong skater, good vision, can take the puck to the net, can be physical and can dominate the cycle. You put these qualities together and you think you have a NHL ready player. But something happened on the road to being an NHLer, whether it was just a bump on the road or something more serious, I don’t know. In any case, Brandon started out the season reasonably well but hit the wall in the latter half of the season and the first round of the playoffs. What caused the drop off, I don’t know but the compete level dropped off and many of the skills listed as can do were put down as didn’t. Luckily, he had a good final series against Windsor so it appears whatever happened isn’t permanent.

So where does all the above leave Brandon Saad in the draft. Well. It is unlikely that he will ever be that power forward that resulted in a top ten ranking. However, there are enough other skills to make him a solid NHLer and a first round pick. The rankings above are clustered in the low twenties but a team that believes it knows what it takes to improve his consistency and compete levels may be prepared to take him in the teens.

Nice video compilation by NHLDraftVideo.


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