The Chicago Blackhawks and second-round pick Brandon Saad are in contract talks, according to a source familiar with the situation, which means the 18-year-old winger from Pittsburgh is likely to break training camp with the team.
Saad has been the biggest surprise in camp, easily outlasting most other prospects, including two players drafted ahead of him in June's entry-level draft.
Saad played in six of seven preseason games and impressed coaches with his skills and hockey smarts. The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder also possesses an NHL-ready body and scored the game-winning goal in the 3-2 victory over Washington on Sept. 23.
Saad needs to sign an entry-level deal before he is eligible to play in the NHL. When he does, he can play up to nine games this season without it counting as a year on his contract. If he plays fewer than nine games he can be sent back to his junior team, the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, otherwise he has to stay with the Hawks for the entire season. Because of his age he's not eligible to play for the Hawks' minor league affiliate, Rockford of the AHL.
Expect a deal to be worked out for Saad by Tuesday, the source said. Rosters have to be finalized by Wednesday afternoon.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.