It’s that time of year again! We’re less than a month away from the first round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, on Thursday, July 7. The Columbus Blue Jackets will be picking at #6 and #12. Next up, Matthew Savoie:
Team: Winnipeg Ice
Date of Birth: January 1, 2004 (same as my sister’s!)
Birthplace: St. Albert, Alberta
Weight: 179 lbs
#3 - Draft Prospects Hockey
#4 - Bob McKenzie, NHL Central Scouting (among North Americans), the Puck Authority
#5 - FC Hockey, ISS Hockey, Recruit Scouting
#6 - Consolidated Ranking, McKeen’s Hockey, SportsNet, Smaht Scouting
#7 - Dobber Prospects
#9 - Elite Prospects
#17 - Craig Button
Games Played: 65
As Thomas Williams of fellow SB Nation site Hockey Wilderness points out, NHL teams have a tendency to ignore or undervalue slight-of-frame prospects, letting them slip down the ranks to the low teens. Recent examples include Marco Rossi, Cole Caufield, and Alex DeBrincat. Matthew Savoie may be the next one.
Savoie scored at a pretty good clip with the Winnipeg Ice, netting roughly 1.5 points per game and consistently setting up his teammates. He shines once he’s up to speed; he doesn’t have the best acceleration, but the rest of his great footwork allows him to weave through neutral zone traffic. He’s a bit rough around the edges, sometimes making rash passes and not fully committing to defensive plays, but in terms of raw talent, there’s a lot there. Based on that, Savoie is probably more of a wing than a center, but he could be a good wing nonetheless.
Another point where Savoie tends to do well is the powerplay. And that’d make sense with his skillset - you’re already in the offensive zone, and when you’re not teams tend to be a bit more conservative pressuring players, and you have more room to get around and open lanes.
Savoie works the perimeter really well, and has the stickhandling, vision, and IQ to set up a large amount of scoring chances for his teammates. His confidence is also clear with the way he moves around the ice and isn’t afraid to push the pace. The only problem is, he does force a lot of passes that don’t always hit. He doesn’t turn the puck over in dangerous ways very often, but there are times where momentum can be lost due to a missed pass. But there’s a way he can improve without changing much about his game. - Kyle Pereira, Last Word on Hockey
Although his production since our last rankings has dipped compared to his massive first half of the season, Savoie still displayed the same high-end tools that made him so effective early on. His skating is decent, with his crossover utilization being his strongest asset. He weaves through opposing neutral zone formations almost effortlessly and gains a lot of speed over long distances, but his first few steps lack the usual explosiveness that undersized forwards tend to display. Savoie is one of the most cerebral offensive players in this class, however, and he is very adept at identifying when to draw players in, stretch the ice, or play one-touch, give-and-go hockey. He also mans the half-wall on the power play better than anyone in this draft. Savoie’s shot and distribution ability benefit from his cerebral nature, as the forward will often pop up unmarked or gain himself an extra inch or two to work with as a result of his off-puck routes and on-puck manipulation. - Hadi Kalakeche, Dobber Prospects
Savoie is a centerman in a draft that already contains Wright and Logan Cooley. At 5-foot-9, Savoie is a bit undersized, and that’s part of why he hasn’t been talked about more in top three conversations like he was last year as part of the initial “big three” with Wright and Finland’s Brad Lambert. But the numbers are there. The term “elite” is thrown around too much for junior hockey players, but compared to the rest of the class, very few see the ice and can set up plays as well as Savoie. A high-end skater, Savoie led the CHL Top Prospects Game skills sessions in four drills: 30-meter forward with puck, weave agility with puck, transition agility and reaction with puck drills. - Steven Ellis, The Hockey News