Hockey Canada has announced its invited roster of players to the upcoming World Juniors selection camp, and one name not on the list may be of interest. Buffalo Sabres first-round draft pick Matthew Savoie did not receive an invitation.
The full roster for selection camp can be found here.
Savoie, 18, was drafted by the Sabres ninth overall earlier this year.
So far, through 23 games with the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice, Savoie has been underwhelming in parts this season. He’s managed to put up 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points, but it’s not what you’d expected from him in his draft-plus 1 year. He’s sixth on the Ice in scoring, but literally 1/5th of his production came in a single game: a six-point effort against the Regina Pats on November 17.
In comparison, last year, as a 17-year-old in his first full WHL season, he scored 90 points - including 55 assists - in 65 games for Winnipeg.
For Savoie to not even be invited to selection camp is certainly an interesting choice on the part of Hockey Canada. What would have happened if he had gotten to the camp - whether or not he would’ve made the actual team... well, we’ll never know.
With that said, consider this my plea to Sabres fans: no, this doesn’t make Savoie a bust. It doesn’t mean he isn’t good, or can’t be a good NHL player in the future. The World Juniors are not the be-all, end-all of a young hockey player’s career, and Hockey Canada is not the overarching king arbiter on whether or not a player will be a success.
The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championships begin on Boxing Day in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick. USA Hockey also announced its selection camp roster Monday.