Who Do We Have With Brandon Saigeon?
Of the carry over players from the Belleville Bulls to play for the 2015/16 Hamilton Bulldogs, no one had higher expectations on their shoulders than Brandon Saigeon. The Bulls were confident that their 4th overall selection in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection would be a future game changer. Saigeon displayed above average leadership skills with the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, had a strong Under-17 preformance with Hockey Canada in November of 2014. His offensive confidence grew as he found a role along side other impressive rookies, Fox and Luff.
Onlookers were predicting that Saigeon’s sophomore season should have been a successful breakout year, that he has the tools and ability to push as a late first round/early second round pick. These hopes started to dissipate early in his second OHL campaign, as he was a late cut from Hockey Canada’s Ivan Hlinka camp. Injured early in the year, Saigeon’s offense struggled to materialize. Instead of providing him with opportunity and the chance to develop confidence, Burnett began pushing Saigeon down in the line up, where he often appeared on the third and fourth lines, with minimal power play chances. He was stuck behind trusted veteran options in Harper, Petti and Laishram.
Despite some lingering injuries (talk of a potentially strained hamstring in October), along with little opportunity to gain confidence, Saigeon endlessly put in the time and effort to recover his game. Things were starting to look very bright in January.
- HockeyProspect.com: #146
- NHL Central Scouting:
- Midterm – #160
- Final – #148
- ISS Hockey: #152
- DraftAnalyst.com: #402 (This is just silly, pretty pointless to do a top 500 players)
Although severe fore-arm fractures (both the radius and ulna were fractured) sidelined his season, Saigeon managed to impress someone up at NHL Central Scouting. This is likely due to his offensive hot streak, six points in eight games before the injury. Saigeon scored scored the most technically impressive goal against Mississauga on January 23rd while on the power play, which is likely the game that he really left an impression on the big-wigs. He was truly on another level that night, and if he can return/exceed that point, I’ll be writing up a report this time next year why he’ll likely be drafted as a second year draft eligible player.
Brandon Saigeon, Logan Brown and Travis Barron where also a pretty big surprise to me, thought all three had solid camps.
— Mike Mackley (@Macker61) August 4, 2015
Saigeon’s smart, quiet style isn’t a fit for this roster, but it has no bearing on his season. He’s ridiculously aware and capable.
— DraftBuzz Hockey (@draftbuzzhockey) August 6, 2015
One of the biggest ovations I’ve heard over 5 Hamilton Bulldogs games is the cheer Brandon Saigeon got for the 2nd assist on their 1st goal.
— Ryan Yessie (@RyanHPscout) December 6, 2015
— Kathryn Jean (@msconduct) January 24, 2016
Brandon Saigeon has points in back to back games post Stephen Harper trade. Increased role and ice time may just have his draft season.
— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) January 10, 2016
Game Notes: Candella back for HAM after missing 11 games with injury. Saigeon 52% on faceoffs and leads HAM in that dept.
— Matt Holmes (@dogsradio) January 9, 2016
Update on Saigeon from last night. He has 2 fractures in his arm. Will know in next couple days if surgery is needed. Season likely over.
— Luke Vermeer (@TheLVermeer) January 30, 2016
What’s being said?
- Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: “Probably the single most disappointing draft eligible player from the OHL this year. He looked to be really pressing offensively all season long and as such he got away from the things he did well, like being active on the forecheck or playing the body. He registered 21 games this year (out of 43) where he had only one or no shots on net. Going into next year, he’s got to upgrade his first step quickness and he’s got to get back to the basics of playing the game hard and in your face.” (Source)
- Ryan Pike, The Hockey Writers: “Notable players not on the tournament roster include Sean Day, Luke Green, Logan Brown, Jonathan Ang and Brandon Saigeon. All five players entered camp with a great deal of fan interest…but failed to crack the roster. For what it’s worth, I thought Saigeon was one of the better players in camp, but with such a deep crop of players that could play the right side, he was in tough to make the team.” (Recap of Ivan Hlinka try-outs – Source)
I have a very high opinion of not only Brandon Saigeon’s ability as a hockey player, but as a young individual who is both courteous and dedicated to his future. Saigeon stood out in training camp as a hard-worker; he didn’t take any shifts off, even in scrimmages.
His skating is one of his best assets, as he has an explosive three stride burst that allows him to separate from an attacker. Combined with his ability to read and anticipate the outcome of the play, Saigeon was able to capitalize on offensive giveaways by his opposition, routinely creating break-away chances for himself. The issue was that he never finished on these chances. There were many onlookers in First Ontario who began to use the term “snake-bit”, myself included. He had a pitiful 4.819% shooting percentage, which is absurdly low for the quality of his shot. He has both detailed accuracy with his wrist shot, along with a very quick release.
Saigeon was the best option on the face-off dot for the Hamilton Bulldogs throughout the season. He’s confident when directing his linemates approaching the circle, and consistently wins the draw clean. He finished with a winning face-off percentage of 52%, something that was dearly missed down the playoff stretch.
Where will he go?
Brandon Saigeon is probably not going to be selected in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. If he is, it will be with a seventh round pick by a General Manager/Scouting Team who liked what they saw of his rookie campaign, and believe in the management team of Staios, Gruden and Smith. Brandon Saigeon forces scouting to check off a lot of boxes when they’re filling out their profiles on him; wins face-offs, plays a two-way game, competitive and driven, cerebral player.
It is much more likely that he is not drafted and given an invitation to both an NHL development camp in July, and one of the rookie training camps/competitions in late August. This will be his opportunity to truly impress on an organization that he is worthy of a pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. It’s up to his ability as a developing professional to secure his goals of reaching the NHL, and I’m not betting against him.
The 2016 NHL Draft Series
- Who Do We Have With Ben Gleason
- Who Do We Have With Cole Candella
- Who Do We Have With Ondrej Kachyna
- Who Do We Have With Luke Kutkevicius
- Who Do We Have With Matt Luff
- Who Do We Have With Trent Fox
- Who Do We Have With Connor Hicks
Feature Image: John Rennison / The Hamilton Spectator