The Blackhawks are hosting their prospects throughout the organization from Thursday through Monday at Johnny’s IceHouse West on Madison St. There will be practices and scrimmages, all open to the public.
Google “2011 NHL Mock Draft” and you’ll get many different opinions on where players would be selected in June’s draft. And you’ll also see almost unanimous opinion on Chicago Blackhawks draft pick Brandon Saad.
The winger was taken in the second round, 43rd overall, but was considered first-round talent. One draft had him going as high as seventh while another had the Hawks taking him as their first pick at No. 18. He was their fourth selection.
“I was anticipating [the drop] a little bit, waiting until the second day, it was nice to get picked by Chicago,” Saad said on the first day of prospects camp Thursday. “Yeah, just using it as a motivator, for sure.”
The Hawks have most of their prospects in Chicago for the five-day mini-camp. The invited players didn’t play professional hockey last season or very little of it.
Saad played for the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL last year, amassing 55 points in 59 games.
“I’m a two-way player with playmaking ability and goal-scoring up front,” he said. “I’m pretty dynamic and play all areas of the ice.”
So why the drop from a potential top-round pick?
“I’m not sure, really,” Saad said. “It’s for them to decide. It’s out of my control after the season is over and just happy to be picked.”
Work ethic and mental toughness are words that get bandied about for Saad’s apparent drop but in an inexact science like projecting 18-year-olds, it means little until they get playing.
However, another supposed questionable talent, Kyle Beach, has been just that so far: questionable. Beach isn’t coming to prospect camps anymore but no one knows if the former first-round pick will be in the NHL any time soon. He just completed his first year in the minors.
Either way Saad will have to prove himself as draft position means little now.
“Looking forward to work hard and wherever they put me [next year] I’ll be happy to be,” Saad said.