Another member of the Colorado Avalanche’s 2018 draft class up for further examination is their 140th overall selection in the 5th round Brandon Saigeon, who has the special distinction of being the only Canadian and CHL player in their draft class. He also happens to be the oldest of the class and is also an overager who is looking to begin his professional career this season.
Born on June 14, 1998 in Grimsby Ontario, Saigeon is a 20-year old and 6’2 194 lbs left shot center heralded for his responsible two-way ability but also with a goal scoring touch. Saigeon has worked hard to improve his skating over his four-year OHL career. In addition to his playmaking ability and physicality, Saigeon has the tools to play a complete all-around game. Consistency, continuing improvement and staying healthy will be his tasks at the next level.
Saigeon’s junior career began in the 2014-15 season with the Belleville Bulls before they moved to Hamilton and became the Bulldogs. Saigeon was a product of the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs in his youth so this was a homecoming for him. He was the fourth overall selection in the 2014 OHL draft, just one selection behind fellow Avs prospect Travis Barron. Saigeon had a nice rookie season in Belleville scoring 26 points in 62 games and was primed to have a big draft year.
Things didn’t go so well in that 2015-16 year for Saigeon as just as he was beginning to find momentum after a slow start then in January he broke his arm sliding into the goalpost and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. He finished with 14 points in 42 games and it wasn’t enough of a resume to have his name called at the 2016 NHL entry draft. Saigeon bounced back in the following year in 2016-17 with 49 points in 66 games, placing him firmly back in draft consideration but scoring only one point in seven playoff contests that spring again didn’t leave the lasting impression he needed to get selected in the draft.
Keeping the momentum going in the 2017-18 season, Saigeon posted 70 points in 65 games including 35 goals. What really got him noticed was his playoff performance this time around as he scored 25 points in 21 contests including an incredible 18 goals (one of them seen below) en route to an OHL championship for Hamilton. He was an important player for the team playing in all-situations and also led the team in points plus second in goals during the regular season.
Despite injuring his shoulder during the Memorial Cup, Saigeon would post four points in four contests as the Bulldogs bowed out in the semi-finals. A big performance on the big stage is finally what Saigeon needed to get noticed. He was drawing interest from many NHL teams who said they would either draft or sign him as a free agent heading into the summer.
— Hamilton Bulldogs (@BulldogsOHL) May 13, 2018
Saigeon has been on the radar quite some time despite going through the draft three times before getting selected. Even after a tough draft year he was invited to Toronto Maple Leafs development camp and in the following year he attended Edmonton Oilers development and rookie camps. NHL central scouting persisted that Saigeon should be in consideration for the draft ranking him 148th among North American skaters in 2016 and then 147th this season even before his huge playoff performance.
At his third NHL camp, and this time with the Avalanche, Saigeon showed well. The attribute which stood out the most for him was his shot and it’s easy to see how scoring goals is his standout skill. He still projects to be a depth forward at the professional level but is a smart responsible center who can also compliment on the wing. He needs to keep working on his improved skating and scoring consistency but should be able to step in and produce for the Colorado Eagles.
The Avalanche have several options available to them in consideration of Saigeon’s upcoming season. As he was just drafted they hold his rights for two years without having to sign him to a NHL contract. Saigeon could be returned to Hamilton to play his overage (20 year-old) season in the OHL. That would to not be the preference as Saigeon is eligible and ready to play professional hockey in the AHL on either an AHL contract or Entry Level NHL contract. It is possible he could play for the Eagles on an AHL contract and then sign a three-year ELC next summer. It remains to be seen if the Avalanche already have it figured out or if they will let training camp in the fall sort out what to do with Saigeon. Either way Saigeon should play the season with the Eagles or ECHL Utah Grizzlies.
As always, Rudo3 has a shift by shift look for your viewing pleasure.