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2022 NHL Draft: Sabres Select Matthew Savoie with Ninth Overall Pick

Center from WHL’s Winnipeg Ice is first Buffalo draft pick of 2022.

2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Buffalo Sabres selected center Matthew Savoie, of the Western Hockey League’s Winnipeg Ice, with the ninth-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Savoie, 18, recorded 90 points, including 55 assists, in 65 games last season with the Ice. It was his first full season in the WHL, though he did previously play 22 games with the Ice in the 2019-20 season.

His teammate that season? Current Sabres forward Peyton Krebs. While Savoie recorded seven points - all assists - in his 22 games, Krebs put up 60 points in 38 games that season.

After being rejected for exceptional status, then being drafted first overall in the WHL’s Bantam Draft, Savoie wound up spending most of the 2020-21 season in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, where he recorded 38 points (21-17) in 34 games.

Savoie previously played for the Sabres - of St. Albert, Alberta, that is - in the 2016-17 season, and is the younger brother of 2020 Edmonton Oilers draft pick Carter Savoie.

Savoie was ranked fourth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, ninth by EliteProspects and sixth by Smaht Scouting. TSN’s Bob McKenzie ranked him ninth, while Craig Button had him at 19th.

As we’ve all seen, the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft has been utter chaos so far, but there were a handful of great players available for the Sabres at ninth overall. Savoie seems like a wise choice off the bat, particularly due to his prowess on the power play. The general thought about what could be his downside: his size. (He’s just 5’9” and 179 pounds.)

Here’s what EliteProspects had to say about him in their draft guide:

“Heavy crossover use and constant motion propel his high-pace, constantly attacking approach, making his every puck touch an opportunity to create a scoring chance. Then Savoie stacks a brilliant first touch, handling skill, an in-stride wrister, and one- and two-touch passing ability on top of that skating and pace combo to ensure many of those chances aren’t for naught.” -EliteProspects 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Here’s a quick highlight video from his junior team:

Here’s what DBTB writer Austin had to say about Savoie back in April:

“Savoie gets the nod over Nazar because of his power play potential. I think Savoie is going to be a menace on the power play in the NHL when he’s given the space to operate with his great spatial awareness, playmaking ability, and deceptive shot. Nazar is a fan favorite. On every ancillary view, Nazar is just the player you want on your team. A player that grinds to the dangerous parts of the ice, is hard on pucks, and possesses enough skill to be able to transport the puck for controlled entries/exits. While I don’t think he has the end-to-end rush capabilities; he is a player that will make anyone he plays with-in the top 9 a better player.”

And more highlights of the newest member of the Sabres organization:

And in case you missed the actual pick being made & want to see it:

Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2022 NHL Draft.