Brandon Saad was feeling the same emotions on Wednesday as he did when he was in the Blackhawks locker room back in September. Its a thrill for him to be here, exciting to get a chance to wear that jersey again.
And on Thursday, he just might get that chance.
Saad, who is just the second of six black aces called up to Chicago, could play when the Blackhawks host Phoenix in Game 4 of their first-round series, coach Joel Quenneville said today. The 19-year-old Saad, who was the Blackhawks second-round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, could fill the spot left by Marian Hossa, who is out after the hit he took from Raffi Torres in Game 3.
"Hes got some skill. And just looking at him physically today, theres a remarkable difference from camp and the stint he had at the start of the season. Hes filled out, bigger," coach Joel Quenneville said. "He had a pretty remarkable year and a great playoffs.
"We gave him a great opportunity to start this season," Quenneville continued. "He gives us some nice assets. The puck seems to follow him around.
Saad impressed the Blackhawks in training camp and made the season-opening roster. But after two games, he was sent back to the Ontario Hockey League and finished the season with the Saginaw Spirit. It was a good one: Saad scored a career-best 34 goals and had 76 points on the season. He also had a team-high rating of plus-35.
The Spirit were eliminated from the OHL playoffs on Saturday, opening the door for Saads return on the Blackhawks expanded roster.
They called me (Tuesday) night and told me to come up this morning. Im excited to be here, said Saad, who would love to be part of the Blackhawks postseason.
Everyone knows playoff hockey just picks it up a little bit. The NHL is a little bit faster. I hope (I can play).
Saad may just get his chance tomorrow night.
This is what I dream of. I want to make the NHL and play, he said. I got a taste of it at the start of the season and playoff hockey would be awesome to be a part of.