The Next Ones – Brandon Saad – NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Leaving the Saad Season Behind

Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below in my “Live Updated” NHL 2011 Draft Preview article.


Brandon Saad

Date of Birth:  October 27, 1992

Hometown:  Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Ht:  6-1  Wt:  208

Shoots:  Left

Position:  Left Wing

NHL Draft Eligibility:  2011



(Aaron Bell/CHL Images)



One Timer: 

The Pittsburgh-native is a huge fan of his hometown Penguins admitting that Sidney Crosby is his favourite NHL player.  Truth by told, the Penguins would love to add a player with Saad’s skillset to their roster as they continue their search for the ideal winger for Crosby to play with.  Brandon Saad had his share of struggles during his first OHL season after many expected him to dominate the league. That is not to say that the prototypical power forward didn’t impress the scouts with his strong two-way play and highlight reel goals but there are some concerns surrounding Saad.

From “[Part Three] 2011 Draft Class Hierarchy

There were high expectations for the former US NTDP star entering the 2010-11 season. Saad was considered the top rated OHL player by most scouts and expectations were sky high. The scouts were excited to see Saad’s NHL-size, soft hands and smooth skating stride dominate OHL rinks across the land. However, after a strong start to the season Saad struggle with his consistency and battled a few injuries which has caused many people to question the power forward’s pro value. Saad is at his best when he is dominating along the half boards and using his large frame in the cycle. The biggest knock on Saad is that he is not aggressive enough for a kid with his size. The Saad stock has fallen over this past year but this power forward is one of only a few players in the draft with huge pro potential. Don’t be shocked if Saad is selected in the Top 10 or shortly thereafter.

The chances of Saad being selected in the top third of the first round are slim but if a team is willing to gamble on the Saginaw winger early in the second half then his rare combination of size and skill could prove worth it.  Saad has the size and hockey tools to become 30+ goal scoring winger at the next level but that is if he can put it all together.  Can Saad overcome his inconsistency issues?

Top Prospects Game:

Brandon Saad played for Team Orr at the 2011 CHL Home Hardware Top Prospects Game but failed to reach the scoresheet.




Scout’s Honour:

– NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards

“Brandon has very good speed and agility and that makes him dangerous, he’s solid on his skates and fights through checks very well. He plays a solid two-way game and is very responsible defensively.”

– Matias Strozyk of

“A hard-working winger who protects the puck well. A strong skater with an excellent shot. Moves well and is a good finisher. Plays hard and with a lot of physicality. Reads the game well.”

Saginaw Head Coach Scott Watson

“He’s a big, two-way forward, he skates well, has excellent skill.  He can play any facet of the game, plays on the power-play. He’s a very good penalty-killer, plays on the 5-on-3 for and against and plays 4-on-4. As a first-year player it was great that he could play in any situation.”

–’s 2011 NHL Draft Guide



50 in 30:  #20 Brandon SaadKirk Luedeke Top Left Wingers – Saad ranked 3rd

Brandon Saad:  Spirit of Saginaw, NHL Bound – (Remy Greer/The Good Point)


International Tournaments:

– Saad notched 3 goals and 6 points in 7 games during the 2010 World Junior Championships for the gold medal winning USA Team.

– Brandon Saad was one of the final cuts for the 2011 WJC for USA.


ETA: 3-4 years


Risk-Reward Analysis:

Risk:  2.5/5  Reward:  4.0/5


NHL Potential:

Top 6 Power Forward



Large NHL-sized frame

– Excellent puck protection skills

– Good hockey smarts

– Hard accurate shooter


Flaws/Aspects He Needs to Work On:

Inconsistent production

– Suspicious work ethic

– Often overhandles the puck

– Needs to play nastier at times


Fantasy Hockey Potential:

Offensive: 8.0/10 Defensive: 7.5/10

NHL Player Comparison: 

Peter Mueller, James van Riemsdyk, James Neal



Off the Iron (Interesting Notes):

– Saad won the puck relay event and breakaway contest at the Under-14 US National Championship’s skills competition

– Brandon’s older brother, George, played alongside him in his rookie season of the NAHL where Brandon was named Rookie of the Year.  George is currently playing for Penn State University.

– Saad played midget hockey for the Pittsburgh Hornets of the USHS scoring 94 points.  Three of his teammates that season are also eligible for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft – goaltenders John Gibson (top ranked goalie) and Michael Houser (19th ranked goaltender) and forward JT Miller (ranked 23rd).

– Saad placed 3rd in Aerobic Fitness at the 2011 NHL Combine in Toronto. Brandon was interviewed by 27 of 30 NHL teams at the combine.


Brendan Ross is THW’s Detroit Red Wings’ writer and also specializes in prospect and fantasy writings.   Twitter:  @rossyyoungblood


THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph 


This document is the intellectual property of Brendan Ross and cannot be used or duplicated in any way without expressed written consent. Any use of this document without the expressed written consent of Brendan Ross will result in public exposure and legal prosecution.