2022 NHL Draft Tracker: Matthew Savoie
Matthew Savoie looks to be a top-5 pick and stands to be the first player selected out of the Western Hockey League.
He’s well on his way to achieving his goal of being drafted one of the biggest stages of them all.
Savoie is currently playing for the red-hot Winnipeg ICE in the WHL, where he has amassed 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 18 games so far. He has shown no signs of slowing down his point-production.
“A lot of people were in the arena to see Savoie this night and he put on a show that did not disappoint. He was easily the best player on either team and generated some quality scoring chances,” FCHockey head Western scout Derek Neumeier said in a recent report. “He is an incredibly confident forward who loves having the puck and being an offensive focal point. There is a real flow to how he moves around the ice and how in tune he is with the pace of play.”
Savoie is currently slotted at No. 6 in FCHockey’s Preliminary ranking for the 2022 draft.
WHO IS MATTHEW SAVOIE
Savoie is born in St. Albert, AB. He grew up in the Alberta minor hockey program and excelled as a kid.
Savoie began making a name for himself when he played in the Brick Invitational and was the captain for Team Alberta. He had five points (three goals, two assists) in six games. Savoie’s dominance would allow him to go on to be selected No. 1 in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft by the ICE — where he is currently having a season for the ages.
During the 2016-17 season, Savoie was named the AMBHL Rookie of the Year after totalling 61 points (34 goals, 27 assists) in 35 games. The next season, Savoie was promoted to the CSSHL under-15 league where he would play for the Northern Alberta Prep team, and recorded 97 points (28 goals, 69 assists) in just 30 games, an astonishing statistic. It was evident early that Savoie possesses elite hockey abilities. He went on to win the CSSHL Championship during the 2018-19 regular season that also saw him win the leagues most valuable player award.
During the 2019-20 season, Savoie split his time between the Rink Hockey Academy as part of the CSSHL under-18 league, and with the ICE. While with Rink Hockey Academy he registered 52 points (19 goals, 33 assists) in 22 games. He was then called up to the WHL, where he suited up for 22 games and recorded seven assists.
As 2020 hit, the COVID-19 Pandemic had run rampant and shut down hockey leagues across the world. As a result, the WHL postponed the start of its 2020-21 season and Savoie took his talents to the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), as well as the United States Hockey League (USHL).
Savoie suited up for just four games with the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the AJHL and had six points (three goals, three assists). He then took his talents down south and shined for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL and accumulated 38 points (21 goals, 17 assists) in 34 games. Not surprisingly, he was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team.
He currently paces the WHL in scoring in 2020-21 with 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) through 22 games.
Savoie is a crafty-forward who boasts a tremendous amount of skill that can take him to the next level almost immediately.
“There is a real flow to how he moves around the ice and how in tune he is with the pace of play,” Neumeier said. “He can play the game fast or slow, depending on the situation. His anticipation, drive and acceleration are all great, which helps him create times where he’ll blow past or through opponents to generate scoring chances. He handles the puck very well in full flight, controlling it well enough to fend off opponents, pull off dekes and make sure he gets a shot off. He’s skilled enough to beat defenders 1-on-1 while also having the vision and passing ability to defer pucks, making him tricky to predict.”
“Steals pucks and forces turnovers because he’s usually in position and thinking the play quicker than others are. His decisions on the power play are also quite quick, as he looks to move the puck around and create chances before penalty killers can get set. He knows that his team relies on him to drive play and seems to take the responsibility seriously.
“His defensive game is underrated. He kills penalties with an ideal amount of seriousness and understands what he needs to do in those situations, applying pressure and cutting off lanes.”
SAVOIE’S AREAS OF IMPROVEMENTS
While Savoie is a fairly rounded out player, there are a couple of knock’s to his game that could hold teams back from taking him right away in the draft.
“The only real knock on him is his size, which is well below average for a high-end prospect,” Neumeier said. “He certainly doesn’t shy away from battles or playing between the dots, which is great, but he isn’t hard to overpower when defenders get close enough to him, knocking him over or boxing him out of the play. What’s worse, his skating stride is short, so if he’s not careful as he adds muscle through development he runs the risk of hampering his quickness, which he needs to create separation.”
In summary, Savoie looks to be the first WHL prospect taken in the 2022 NHL Draft come July of next year. Be on the lookout for Savoie as he and the electric Winnipeg Ice continue to tear apart the WHL.