Brandon Saad has accomplished quite a bit in his young NHL career.
At the top of the list are two Stanley Cup championships (2013 and 2015), a career-defining moment that many players never get to experience. In the second of those title runs, Saad was one of the Blackhawks’ game-breakers, elevating his play as they fought through some tough series along the way.
Now, in his first season with the Blue Jackets, the 23-year-old Saad has another feather in his cap: he’s an NHL All-Star for the first time. He got official word last night after the Blue Jackets’ game against Minnesota.
“It’s really cool, and obviously it’s a huge honor,” Saad told BlueJackets.com. “To be able to be recognized with so many incredible players in this league and represent the Blue Jackets, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Acquired by Columbus over the summer, Saad arrived with hefty expectations as a large part of a team looking to take the next step. It hasn’t been a rosy season for the Blue Jackets, to say the least, but Saad has been one of their most consistent players – and under coach John Tortorella, his play has hit another level.
Saad leads the Blue Jackets in goals with 16 and his 29 points are one off the team lead held by Scott Hartnell.
He’s been particularly hot of late, scoring six goals in his last eight games including a two-goal effort Saturday vs. Washington, and you’ll not forget the game-tying backhand goal off the rush to cap it off.
He also leads the Blue Jackets in game-winning goals (three) and shots on goal (115), and has accumulated 7-6-13 in the last 13 games, including 6-5-11 during a career-high seven-game point streak from Dec. 17 to Jan 2.
This year’s Honda NHL All-Star Game will be a new experience for everyone, not just Saad, with a 3-on-3 tournament replacing the traditional game. Saad will be part of the Metropolitan Division team, captained by Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, and said he’s anxious to see how the format plays out.
“I think it’ll be exciting. Lots of speed, skill, goals, and a lot of fun for both the players and the fans. That’s what it should be,” Saad said.