Brandon Saad's second time around with Blackhawks nothing like the first

Paul Skrbina, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

It's not like he hasn't had opportunities. He has taken 148 shots, 27th in the league through Tuesday. His Corsi-for percentage in five-on-five situations was 58.67, third in the league.

And it's not like his line has been giving up a lot of goals, evident by him being among the leaders in goal differential.

"For the most part it's gone all right," Saad said when asked to assess his season.

So what's wrong? Why isn't he making more of the scoring opportunities?

"I don't really know," he said. "There's always room for improvement, right? I've had some ups and downs, just like we've had as a team. You always want to be better. I want to produce more. We want to win more hockey games."

If the Hawks do, Saad's role in that figures to be prominent. That's partly why they traded Artemi Panarin to get him back.

In some ways Saad's play has been, in coach Joel Quenneville's estimation, a reflection of the Hawks' streaky season.

"Saader's kind of like our team," Quenneville said. "If we get to the net, around the net, and get some greasier goals, they can help your team game.


"If you're not scoring, find a way to get there and get some ugly goals. He has some speed and skill. But you want to have those second and third opportunities. ... You've got to be willing to get there."

Quenneville recently shifted Saad to play alongside Kane and Schmaltz with the hope he would be rejuvenated on the offensive end.

So far, the goals haven't been there.

"We went through a stretch ... where we weren't winning or productive," Quenneville said. "That's something we tried to ignite. In a short amount of time, they've had some decent looks. Haven't had the production there, but the balance in our lineup was better in our last few games."

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