There's not much mystery to speedy American winger Brandon Saad (mentioned among Gare Joyce's top 10 prospects for the 2011 NHL draft). Ask him a question, you get a direct answer. Give him a direction, you get a result. Simple, straightforward -- and, oh yes, superlative.
Already a known talent after making the North American Hockey League's All-Rookie team by recording 53 points in 54 games with the Mahoning Valley Phantoms in 2008-09, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Saad burst onto the big scene with a head-turning performance in the USA's gold medal performance at the U-18 World Championships last April. Putting up 10 goals -- including a pair of game winners -- in international play for Team USA, Saad showed off his explosive speed and sweet finishing touch.
Over the entirety of the USHL season with the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) in Ann Arbor, Saad led the squad with an even split of goals and assists for 58 points in 63 games. Add it all up, and you're looking at one of the top picks in the coming 2011 NHL entry draft.
"I think you can project him to be a 35-goal scorer in the NHL," said one Eastern Conference scout. "You go through all the major areas: smarts, skating, desire, size, he's got it all. He's capable of going straight to the NHL after the draft."
35 goals per year? Nice. For the full Saad profile, including weaknesses, you must be an ESPN Insider.