Brandon Saad is scoring goals and turning heads in the Ontario Hockey League.
Saad, the 43rd overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, was sent back to his junior team, the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, after a very impressive showing in training camp with the Chicago Blackhawks.
During his short stint with the team, Saad received considerable praise from head coach Joel Quenneville, as well as several Blackhawks' regulars. Ultimately he was sent back to juniors so he could get more quality ice time to assist his development and boost his confidence.
Since returning to Saginaw, Saad has been unstoppable.
In just five games he's recorded eight goals and 13 points. That's an average of 2.6 points per game. So theoretically that means that if Saad had played in all 13 of Saginaw's games thus far, he would already have 21 goals and 34 points, beating out highly ranked 2012 draft prospect Nail Yakupov for the OHL scoring lead.
Considering how well he performed in preseason and how he's now dominating at the junior levels, Saad has to be considered the steal of the 2011 draft at this point in time.
There was little bit of debate about whether or not Saad was NHL-ready this season. But if he keeps this performance up for the entire season in Saginaw, I don't think there will be any debate next season about whether or not he can play with the Blackhawks, who should have more openings in their top six next season for a player like Saad.
Updates on some other Blackhawks prospects in juniors and college
Mark McNeill (C), the 18th overall pick in 2011, is off to a decent start with the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. He has four goals and 14 points in 15 games.
Phillip Danault (C), the 26th overall pick in 2011, got off to a slow start with the Victoriaville Tigres of the QMJHL but has since picked up the pace. He has four goals and 10 points in 14 games.
Kevin Hayes (C), the 24th overall pick in 2010, is doing well in his expanded role at Boston College. He has two goals and seven points in six games.
Ludvig Rensfeldt (LW), the 35th overall pick in 2010, is settling into his new role on the Sarnia Sting of the OHL after coming over from Sweden. He has four goals and 10 points in 13 games.
Adam Clendening (D), the 36th overall pick in 2011, playing with Boston University, has four assists in four games.
Stephen Johns (D), the 60th overall pick in 2010, playing with Notre Dame, has a goal and two assists in five games.
Justin Holl (D), the 54th overall pick in 2010, playing with the University of Minnesota, has a goal and two assists in six games.