The Chicago Blackhawks signed Brandon Saad to an entry-level deal, general manager Stan Bowman told the media on Tuesday, and the rookie will play in the Blackhawks' season opener in Dallas on Friday.
Saad's great training camp has translated into the deal and the opportunity to start with the big club. He'll also be starting on the top line, as he practiced with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp on Tuesday morning.
"He's earned a spot," said Bowman, who noted Saad has had the Blackhawks' attention since rookie camp. "The competition has gone up each time and he's responded to the challenge. You have to credit him for his hard work and determination. He's excited to go and that's a good story for us. We put him in a position to succeed and he seized it."
For Saad, the dream of making an NHL roster is realized early. The 18-year-old said he'll try not to be overwhelmed by that first regular-season game.
"I've been through the preseason so I'll try to take it like every game. Starting the real season, it's going to be tough but exciting," he said. "I've always wanted to work to make the NHL but didn't expect to make the team (this soon). But it's nice to have."
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.
On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle discuss Nick Schmaltz returning to the Blackhawks line-up on Wednesday night and which player is looking forward most to his return?
They also weigh in on Corey Crawford’s incredible start to the season and why he’s the major reason why the Hawks begin the week in first place in the Central.
They also discuss who is the biggest Hawks rivalry right now, which new defenseman has impressed the most and how is Connor Murphy dealing with being a healthy scratch at times this season?
Plus, they discuss someone other than Nick Schmaltz returning to work on Wednesday night.
Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below:
Eddie Olczyk will return to the broadcast booth for Wednesday's Blackhawks-Blues game, according to USA Today's Kevin Allen.
The news comes six weeks after the Chicago legend began chemotherapy for colon cancer. And although he made a brief, emotional return on Oct. 7 -- putting on the headset to join Pat Foley for a moment during intermission -- he will provide color commentary for the entire game on Wednesday. He'll call the rivalry matchup alongside Doc Emrick on NBCSN.
Olczyk, who grew up in Palos Heights and attended Brother Rice, will take the mic again the following night as the Blackhawks welcome the Edmonton Oilers to the United Center. As for the rest of the season, he plans to work when his health allows.
“We have some dates that we have highlighted and hopefully I will be strong to do the job,” Olczyk told USA Today. “If I am not feeling good, I just have to be honest with everyone and tell them I can’t do it.”
It'll be nice to see Edzo back at work, providing dynamite analysis and passing along tips to all those young hockey players out there.