Blackhawks send Brandon Saad down

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad was assigned to the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League, the team announced on Wednesday.

Saad, 18, was the surprise of training camp, participating in the Hawks' first two regular season games against the Dallas Stars last weekend. He registered three shots on goal in the two games but did not record a point.

Though he started the first game of the season skating on the top line, he was quickly dropped down in the lineup while his roster spot became in jeopardy when injured forwards Viktor Stalberg and Ben Smith got closer to returning. Stalberg practiced for the first time on Wednesday since suffering a knee injury in preseason while Smith is close to returning from a concussion.

Saad showed good hands and instincts as a Hawks second round pick in this past June's entry draft. He scored the game-winning goal against the Washington Capitals in a preseason game. Saad signed an entry level contract on the eve of the season and by NHL rules the Hawks could play him in nine games before his first year contract kicked in.

Saad is not eligible to be recalled to the Hawks or their minor league affiliate, Rockford, unless in an emergency situation or until Saginaw's season is over.

Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPN 1000 and ESPNChicago.com.