The Rockford Icehogs are off to another one of the their typical slow starts this season. They are 0-3-0-1 through their first four games, with another match up with the Charlotte Checkers this afternoon. Many of the Blackhawks prospects have stumbled out of the gate in the AHL. The Hogs have only scored 5 goals so far, two each from Marcus Kruger and Jeremy Morin, and one from Peter LeBlanc. Its good to see Kruger being a big contributor on offense so far. You can not blame Rockford's slow start on goalie Carter Hutton who has a 2.24 goals against average with a .929 save % while starting all four games.
The IceHogs are simply not scoring which is disappointing. The biggest disappointment has to be Brandon Saad. He has zero points and is a minus 2 in three games. In fact, Saad was a healthy scratch for last night's home opener versus the Checkers. This not a good start for a kid who has lot of expectations. Saad has been an absolute monster with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL the last two seasons. He had 131 points (61 G, 70 A) and had 29 points (11 G, 18 A) in 24 career playoff games. He made the Blackhawks opening night roster coming out of training camp last season. When the Hawks had to deal with the injury to Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw's suspension in the playoffs, they called up Saad to try and fill the void. There was talk this summer that he would even get a look center in training camp and was expected to play in the NHL this season.
Saad has been pretty much invisible for Rockford so far. It just isn't that he has yet to make the score sheet, you pretty much don't even notice that he is on the ice. So why the slow start? I don't think its because he can't handle the AHL. Saad has the size and has been a points producer every level he has been on. I think he could be let down that he is playing in the AHL and not the NHL like he expected. If that is the case then someone on either the Hogs or the Blackhawks staff needs to have a chat with the young man. He has no control of being in the AHL, since there is no NHL right now. Hopefully last night's healthy scratch will serve as an eye opener and get Saad back on track.