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Saad insists draft rankings aren't concern

Brandon Saad, perhaps one of the most talented hockey player to ever come from Western Pennsylvania, grew up dreaming of playing for the Penguins.

Maybe the dream isn't an impossible one.

Saad, a presumed top-10 pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, fell to 19th when Central Scouting released its final draft rankings Monday. Still a surefire first-round pick, his stock has dropped slightly in recent weeks.

"I'm so focused on my season right now that I really don't worry about it," said Saad, a Gibsonia native.

"It's just out of my control."

Saad is playing his first season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and has led the Saginaw Spirit to the second round of the playoffs. His dramatic goal in the third period of Sunday's Game 2 forced overtime, where Saginaw won, 5-4, to even its series with Windsor.

Saad produced 27 goals and 55 points in 59 games during his first OHL regular season. He was slowed by a groin injury in January.

Saad admitted that the groin injury lingered by downplayed rumors that homesickness has been an issue.

"I'm fine," he said. "You get used to not being at home. It's tough because you miss your family, but it's not a problem. I'm still getting chances. Just not as many are going in right now."

Always a team player, Saad's defensive work has remained steady all season. He is one of Saginaw's best penalty killers.

"Being a two-way player is a big part of my game," he said.

Saad believes the intensity of the OHL playoffs will only make him a better player. Draft rankings, he insists, aren't on his mind.

"I'll worry about that when the times comes," he said. "Right now, I'm just trying to help our team win."

Vince Trocheck, another Pittsburgh area native who plays for Saginaw, moved up to No. 41 on Central Scouting's list.

Goalie John Gibson, a Whitehall native, is ranked No. 1 among goalies eligible for the draft. J.T. Miller, a native of East Palestine, Ohio, is ranked No. 23 by Central Skating.

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