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Brandon Saad: First Time All-Star Having His Best Statistical Season

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Brandon Saad was selected to participate in the NHL All Star Game. Here's how he got there.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When the Brandon Saad trade went down, there was plenty of debate about what kind of player he could and would be for Columbus. Safe to say that most of that went out the window with the team's October implosion and subsequent continued circling of the drain through 41 games, but for Saad, coming into a new situation and dealing with all of the changes and hurdles that followed, he's quietly putting together arguably his best statistical season in his fourth full year in the NHL.

That didn't go unnoticed, as he was named to the NHL All Star Game today to join the Metro Division squad.

Saad is on pace to finish the season (assuming his current pace) with 32 goals, which would be a career high. As it is, he's just seven goals away from tying his career mark of 23 set last year. With his 13 assists, he's on pace to finish the season with a 32/24/56 split. That, too, would be a career high in points, even with the slight dip in assists.

Considering many argued that his production would dip being taken away from Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa, Saad's goal-scoring has been a pleasant surprise to many. That said, his assist pace is down this season, in part because of the overall scoring woes of the Jackets thus far combined with the musical chairs line shuffling done by both coaches.

It's been admittedly tough for any players to find consistent chemistry and generate offense as the team has struggled to find consistency as well as solid defensive effort. Saad's 29 points are second on the Jackets, trailing only Scott Hartnell with 30.

Perhaps the area of biggest improvement for Saad has been on the Power Play, where he's already more than doubled his previous career high in goals (five so far, compared to two in '13-'14), and is close to matching his career best in points (he has seven, he had nine last year) at the halfway mark of the season. This without a jump in PP ice time per game (2.1 this season and last).

I'm sure the debate can be had about whether or not Saad is "deserving" of being an All Star in the context of the league as a whole (you know, that whole "fans vote" and "each team has one guy" thing), but it's hard to argue that Saad isn't having one of the best seasons during a lost season of anyone on the Blue Jackets, and that he's managed to continue to improve despite all of the changes and crap this team has put itself through.

Congrats to Brandon Saad, 2016 NHL All Star!

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2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game Rosters

Atlantic Division Central Division
PATRICE BERGERON (BOS) F JAMIE BENN (DAL)
(C) JAROMIR JAGR (FLA) F MATT DUCHENE (COL)
LEO KOMAROV (TOR) F (C) PATRICK KANE (CHI)
DYLAN LARKIN (DET) F TYLER SEGUIN (DAL)
RYAN O'REILLY (BUF) F VLADIMIR TARASENKO (STL)
STEVEN STAMKOS (TB) F JONATHAN TOEWS (CHI)
AARON EKBLAD (FLA) D DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN (WPG)
ERIK KARLSSON (OTT) D ROMAN JOSI (NSH)
P.K. SUBBAN (MON) D SHEA WEBER (NSH)
BEN BISHOP (TB) G DEVAN DUBNYK (MIN)
ROBERTO LUONGO (FLA) G PEKKA RINNE (NSH)
Metropolitan Division
Pacific Division
NICKLAS BACKSTROM (WSH) F JOHNNY GAUDREAU (CAL)
CLAUDE GIROUX (PHI) F TAYLOR HALL (EDM)
EVGENI MALKIN (PIT) F JOE PAVELSKI (SJ)
(C) ALEX OVECHKIN (WSH) F COREY PERRY (ANA)
BRANDON SAAD (CBJ) F (C) JOHN SCOTT (ARI)
JOHN TAVARES (NYI) F DANIEL SEDIN (VAN)
JUSTIN FAULK (CAR) D BRENT BURNS (SJ)
KRIS LETANG (PIT) D DREW DOUGHTY (LA)
RYAN MCDONAGH (NYR) D MARK GIORDANO (CAL)
BRADEN HOLTBY (WSH) G JOHN GIBSON (ANA)
CORY SCHNEIDER (NJD) G JONATHAN QUICK (LA)