10/6/2011: bb!Saad preparing for practice prior to his very first NHL game (X)
Thanks again to forgottenwounds, who finds the best links. :))
Also, here’s a story about Brandon Saad that most of you might already know (but I don’t care; I like talking about him!):Brandon Saad: A Brief History
It’s cut out of the GIF, but he’s standing next to his locker with the #43 on it, which was Saad’s number back then.
Saad was originally touted as a first round pick, but after an underwhelming half-season just prior to the draft in 2011 (went from scoring 20 goals in the first half to 9 in the second), fell to the second round and was acquired by the Blackhawks at #43. Scouting reports on him claimed that he was lazy and disinterested, questioning his consistency and his work ethic. He had a poor showing at the draft combine - apparently didn’t do too well in the interviews.
It turned out later that he was playing with a groin injury through that latter half of the season, but why even consider that when you can just blame a player’s mental make-up, right?
His agent dumped him right after the draft, but he picked up another one who seems to be working out. He chose 43 as his number with the Hawks, presumably as a constant reminder of falling to #43 in the draft and spur to do better, and went on to do amazingly well at the Blackhawks training camp.
A guy who observed the training camp came back and raved about him on HFBoards, to be mostly shot down:
"Won’t make up for the fact he has 0 hockey sense."
"That a player drops the more heavily he is scouted says something."
"Yes, Saad should have been a top 10 pick, just like Larsson should have gone 1st overall. Sometimes people need to stop getting way too attached to prospects and realize that professional scouts know more than they do. It seems like every year the players who fall in rank are touted as ridiculous steals on this forum."
You can still find the thread here.
The Hawks thought a bit more highly of him, and he started the ‘11 season with the team since Stalberg, Carcillo (and I think someone else?) were out with injuries, but only played for one game (on a line with Tazer and Sharpy!) before being sent back down to the Saginaw Spirit; he didn’t qualify for Rockford since you need to be over 20.
He played extremely well in the OHL, so much so that they nabbed him for the playoffs in ‘12, then put him in for Hossa after, well, you know. :/ Nevertheless, the Hawks made a quick first-round exit, and that was it for Brandon Saad in the NHL until he came back in the ‘12-‘13 season to put himself in the running for the Calder and consolidate himself as a top 6 player on the best team in the league.
So, yes. I started out liking Brandon Saad because he was cute and played pretty well with Tazer and Hoss, and then I actually read up on him; now he’s definitely one of my favorite players in any sport.