Brandon Saad 2016-2017 Stats:
Time on Ice: 17:02
Corsi For (ES): 54.8%
Any time a skater has the highest salary on the team, he’s expected to be the best player on the ice.
In the case of the Blue Jackets, Brandon Saad did a damn good job of delivering that in the 2016-2017 season. Even though Cam Atkinson ended up leading the team on goals and overall scoring, and Alexander Wennberg put up more assists, Saad was still right behind his linemates in nearly every category, and all of his advanced stats speak to a player who is going to create offense when he’s on the ice, even if it doesn’t always result in a goal.
There were some concerns about how Saad would play in a full season under Torts, especially after a couple of major dry spells shortly after Tortorella took over the reins last season, but his production still resulted in a 50+ point season, and though it was clear that Saad and Torts clashed behind the scenes a few times, Saad seems to have come out of it as a stronger player for the trouble - which was the head coach’s goal the entire time.
I took a look back at the player previews we wrote before the season began, and our expectations for Saad came down to this: We will be looking for Saad to deliver another 50+ season, to anchor one of the top two lines, and to have the offense flow through him as the team’s purest scoring threat.
Seems like he did just what we asked.
Now we just wait for next season, and expect him to do it again.