Brandon Saad has had an amazing rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks, in which he is currently third in league scoring among rookies, but why has he had so much success?
The Blackhawks have had some injuries throughout the season to players like Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, and in that time Saad has taken advantage of an increase in ice time and the ability to play with some better linemates.
He also took advantage of Daniel Carcillo's injury early on in the season, because that allowed Saad to join the first line on a permanent basis.
Saad has shown tremendous poise as a rookie, and here is a head-to-toe breakdown of the former-Saginaw Spirit forward, and what he has done well in 2013.
Saad is one of the best skaters on the Blackhawks, and that has allowed him to thrive thus far.
At 6'1" and 202 lbs, Saad is able to move up and down the ice to effectively create his own scoring chances. He likes to streak up the wing and get into perfect position before letting one rip, or before setting up a teammate skating alongside him.
Saad has created a ton of scoring chances because of his skating ability, and if he keeps it up he will have no problem developing into a consistent scoring winger as his career continues.
One of the most impressive parts about Saad's game is his intelligence as a player despite his young age.
He is a player who really fits well in the Blackhawks' system, and his instincts allow him to fit in with the talented players the 'Hawks have on their roster.
He always has a sense of where he is on the ice, and more importantly where his teammates are.
Saad has also played very smart hockey in terms of not taking penalties. He has only registered eight PIM thus far, and that shows that Saad has maturity and discipline.
Saad has made a seamless transition into the NHL, and he is seldom caught out of position. He has played an effective two-way game to this point, and he has learned a lot from his teammates like captain Jonathan Toews.
Toews is a solid two-way forward who has set a good example for Saad, and the duo has been fun to watch.
Alongside Toews, Saad has learned how to create offense from playing defense, and there is a reason why he has a plus-minus rating of plus-14.
Saad has 14 assists on the season, and his ability to thread the needle is pretty impressive for a rookie.
Often times rookies have an adjustment period when transitioning from the AHL to the NHL, but Saad's timing is pretty impeccable.
He has learned when to deliver a pass, and when to continue skating with the puck in order to make the best possible play. His ability to pass in addition to his goal-scoring abilities make him a top two-way threat.
Saad has scored nine goals on the year, and a few of them have been real beauties. A big reason why Saad has been able to be successful is that he is shooting the puck more.
When Saad entered the league, that was one area of his game that he needed to improve, and to date he has taken strides in doing so.
In an 82-game season Saad would be on pace for 21 goals, and that would be pretty impressive for a rookie. As he continues to play alongside a master playmaker like Toews, he could become a solid 30 to 40-goal player on the first line.
If he can bulk up a little more, he can use his size to his advantage when driving to the net.
What is Saad's potential?
Saad has had a tremendous season to date, and although his success thus far is just a small sample size, you can tell that Saad has the makings of a young superstar.
He is going to continue growing as a player both physically and mentally, and at his potential he could turn into a dominant power forward.
Saad is in a great environment in Chicago, and although there were rumors surrounding him at the trade deadline, it is easy to see why the Blackhawks never really thought about trading him.