Brandon Saad is 19. He'll turn 20 at the end of this month. But he has already suited up in the NHL twice with the Blackhawks. Briefly at the start of last season, and again in the playoffs. Those stints go a long way toward boosting a teenager's confidence.
"It's definitely the confidence like you said to be able to play up there in the start of the season was huge for me, and coming back for the playoffs was even bigger," says Saad. "Getting that playoff experience and looking forward to next year."
Saad is a former second round draft pick of the Blackhawks, and he has more than lived up to that so far. He spent most of last season in junior hockey with the Saginaw, Michigan Spirit. In 44 games he accounted for 76 points. But he's more than simply a scorer.
"I think my two-way game is what I bring to the ice," said Saad. I like playing on both ends, and my playmaking ability up front is a strength. Sharing the puck and scoring goals."
Saad has never played a single game in the AHL. Barring a quick end to the NHL lockout that will change next week.
"I want to play well here, and if the lockout ends then try to make the Blackhawks. But right now I'm just here to play hockey, and that's what I have fun doing."