Happy New Year, ask Divas! The weather outside may be frightful (but really, cialis any temperature below zero on the Monday after Christmas break should be illegal…although this is Chicago and I shouldn’t be complaining), but the Chicago Blackhawks are on fire. Among the highlights: this week’s HAM of the Week, Brandon Saad, who scored goal number 14 in former HAM of the Week Antti Raanta’s first shutout against the LA Kings last Monday, and goal number 15 in last Friday’s 5-3 rout against the New Jersey Devils.
The youngest member of the team and nicknamed “Man-Child” because his physique and maturity are beyond his age, Saad seems to be the hottest little teddy bear. While we profiled a preview of Saad just as he was brought up from Rockford to replace former Blackhawk Daniel Carcillo in late 2012, he has grown as a player both physically and mentally. It’s obvious he blends in with his teammates—we can’t get enough of his baby face.
The 21-year-old left winger, from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania began his hockey career with the Youngstown Phantoms, a division of the National American Hockey League, scoring 29 goals and 18 assists in 47 games in the 2008-09 season. The following year, he played for the U-18 U.S. national development team, and was a member of gold medal-winning Team USA in the IIHF World U18 Championships.
After playing with the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League for two seasons, the 6’1”, 202-pound player made it to the big leagues after the Blackhawks signed him to a three-year, entry-level contract. Although Saad made his NHL debut in October 2011, he returned to the OHL for the remainder of the season. After the season was over, the Blackhawks recalled Saad during the 2012 playoffs.
In anticipation of the NHL lockout the following season, Saad was sent to the Rockford IceHogs, but Coach Q moved him to the starting lineup once the season began in January. Saad had 10 goals and 17 assists and was named a Calder Memorial Trophy finalist in his rookie season. He was also named to Sports Illustrated’s “Players to Watch in the NHL Playoffs” list. Saad played in the first line alongside vets Captain Serious and Marian Hossa, which, according to an interview with WGN Radio at the 2013 Blackhawks Convention, he says has greatly improved his game:
Since then, Saad is one of seven Blackhawks with 13 goals or more through December. He’s been consistent with his game, playing in the third line alongside Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell. And though he’s usually one of the support players, he’s making his way up to headliner status.
Saad joined teammates Patrick Kane and former HAM of the Week Nick Leddy at the U.S. Olympic hockey summer camp in August, but Kaner was the lone Blackhawk selected to Team USA. I think the U.S. Olympic hockey committee made a major snub, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Those deep blue eyes, that convincing smile, those biceps…I can’t take it.
However, the interwebs has told me that Saad is dating Alyssa Wozniak. But as far as we’re concerned, he’s still a HAM, and a very family-oriented one at that. He’s flexible on dates, loves his mama, and is very laid-back, from his pre-game rituals to his taste in music.
Saad originally wanted to be a goaltender, but his speed proved otherwise. And hockey runs in the family; older brother George played for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
He’s certainly social media-savvy, having learned the Twiter ropes from on-the-road roommate Andrew Shaw. Twelve tweets in and he’s already verified.
— Brandon Saad (@BSaad20) December 14, 2013
It’s clear that Saad has a bright future with the Blackhawks as one of the team’s top forwards, and the way he’s playing now, I could definitely see him posting 30+ points by the end of the season.
Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BSaad20.