In January, we watched as three members of the biggest draft class to ever come out of the Pittsburgh area – John Gibson, J.T. Miller and Vince Trocheck – won gold with Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championship, an accomplishment that was the crown jewel of strong seasons for all of them. Now, it’s time for the fourth and final member of that group to be recognized for the season he is having.
Gibsonia native and Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad today was named as one of three finalists for the 2013 Calder Memorial Trophy, honoring the National Hockey League’s top rookie. Forwards Brenden Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens) and Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers) are the others.
Saad, 20, scored 10 goals and 27 points in 46 games this season with the President’s Trophy-winning Blackhawks, tied for fifth on the team in points and ranking fourth in assists. He led all NHL rookies with a plus-17 rating, ranked third in assists and was fifth in points. He was tied for fifth in goals, was one of five rookies to score a shorthanded goal and was tied for fifth with two game-winning goals. Saad also ranked second among league rookies with 26 takeaways.
Saad was selected by the Blackhawks in the second round (43rd overall) in 2011. He made the NHL club’s opening-night roster that fall, playing two games with the Blackhawks before returning to the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) to continue developing his game. He made the roster again this year – and this time, he stayed with the club. He has been on the top line with superstars Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa all season.
Pretty awesome for the soft-spoken kid from Western PA, who played for Butler Valley, the Pittsburgh Amateur Penguins and the Pittsburgh Hornets – and was a Penguins Cup champion in 2008 when he netted a hat trick in the championship game at the then-Mellon Arena for Pine-Richland – while coming up through the Pittsburgh amateur hockey system. And awesome for all of us here in Pittsburgh to see.