The Chicago Blackhawks signed Brandon Saad to an entry-level deal, general manager Stan Bowman told the media on Tuesday, and the rookie will play in the Blackhawks' season opener in Dallas on Friday.
Saad's great training camp has translated into the deal and the opportunity to start with the big club. He'll also be starting on the top line, as he practiced with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp on Tuesday morning.
"He's earned a spot," said Bowman, who noted Saad has had the Blackhawks' attention since rookie camp. "The competition has gone up each time and he's responded to the challenge. You have to credit him for his hard work and determination. He's excited to go and that's a good story for us. We put him in a position to succeed and he seized it."
For Saad, the dream of making an NHL roster is realized early. The 18-year-old said he'll try not to be overwhelmed by that first regular-season game.
"I've been through the preseason so I'll try to take it like every game. Starting the real season, it's going to be tough but exciting," he said. "I've always wanted to work to make the NHL but didn't expect to make the team (this soon). But it's nice to have."
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.