Brandon Saad, 20, was named to the NHL All-Rookie team on Saturday. The announcement came two years after the Blackhawks selected him in the second round, 43rd overall, in the 2011 draft.
The announcement doesn't come as a big surprise since Saad was named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which goes to the top rookie each season. He finished third in the voting behind fellow All-Rookie team members Brendan Gallagher of Montreal and Jonathan Huberdeau of Florida, who won the award.
Defensemen Jonas Bordin of Minnesota and Justin Schultz of Edmonton along with goalie Jake Allen of St. Louis rounded out the team.
Saad impressed from the start, even breaking camp with the team in 2011, just a few months after being drafted. He was then sent back to the OHL after two games. This season during the lockout he played in the AHL for the Rockford Icehogs and left no doubt that he belonged in Chicago once the season started.
He appeared in 46 of the Hawks 48 regular season games and all 23 of their postseason games. He spent most of the regular season on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa and tallied 27 points, 10 goals and 17 assists. He led all rookies with a plus 17.
In the postseason he moved around across all the lines totaling one goal and five assists.
Throughout the season Saad earned the trust of the coaching staff and earned time on both the powerplay as well as the penalty kill. With him and guys like Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and Ben Smith, you can already see the next wave of talent that could help the Hawks develop a dynasty for years to come.
It's scary that Toews and Patrick Kane are starting to become the old guys on the team at 25 and 24.
Who knows maybe whoever the Hawks draft this year will be added to the list as well. We will just have to wait and see.