Background and Introduction
The Edmonton Oilers added Carter Savoie to their list of prospects in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Drafted in the fourth round at 100th overall, Savoie appears to be well suited to being a mid of the draft pick of the Oilers. A solid, if not outstanding prospect, Savoie is committed to playing hockey for the University of Denver in the NCAA. In his first NCAA season, Savoie played 24 games and scored 13 goals with 7 assists for a solid 20 points. So not quite a point per season, but still very impressive in his rookie season.
Savoie was a standout for the Sherwood Park Crusaders before making his transition to the NCAA. He had 53 goals in 54 games played, is a left wing (!), and is able to read the play in front of him. Elite Prospects notes that his shot is deceptive and powerful and he’s able to use a screen effectively. This ability could account for some of his success in adding to his goal totals.
WHAT EVEN? A player that doesn’t just fire at the goalie centre mass? What is this?
Savoie is likely a couple years away from joining the Oilers system fulltime… if he signs with the Oilers. While Savoie seems like a solid prospect, it will depend on the Oilers contract numbers, prospect list, and the development the 18 year old shows in the NCAA as there was some concerns about his ability to transition and play at a higher level.
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The Copper and Blue Staff have a slightly more conservative opinion on Savoie, but for the most part we’ve come to a very similar ranking.
Why He Made the List
As mentioned before, Savoie was a beast in the AJHL and the his first year in the NCAA. His 53 goals in 54 games in his last AJHL season is more than a little impressive. Add in his 46 assists for 99 points total, his offense is something to take note of. He also shoots left, which could be an interesting addition to the Oilers offense. As is his 20 points in 24 games during a pandemic impacted NCAA season and Savoie seems to have legitimate offensive potential which will hopefully translate to NHL success.
Savoie isn’t the biggest player at only 5’10” but he does seem to know how to use his size to play a style of hockey that suits him. He’s able to read defenders, pass well, and shoot well and from a variety of places. Savoie is obviously a prospect the Oilers think will develop into something more than he currently appears to me. With his commitment to the University of Denver, there is a probability there will be more than meets the current eye to Savoie.
Another reason Savoie made the list at 16 is that Oilers have a relatively interesting set of under 25 prospects where a good number of them seem to the type which have only an outside chance at the NHL. Savoie shows considerably more potential for an NHL level ceiling than some of the prospects on the list. And so Savoie lands a 16 which moves him up the rankings four positions from last year.
Why He Made the List at 16
So, let’s be clear, I think Savoie is an interesting prospect in the Oilers system. However, I’m not unaware of the criticisms leveled his way. He’s inconsistent without the puck on his stick, he needs to work on his offensive game, and pundits were quick to question his commitment. He’s not at a point in his development where he’ll be making impacts in the Oilers system for at least two, and probably three years. His strong rookie season in the NCAA was during a pandemic impacted season which has had impacted we’re not quite sure about on hockey prospects. I know that the NCAA had some different travel regulations for teams in an effect to improve safety. Hopefully this upcoming season is one which is less impacted by the COVID pandemic (though there has been a significant resurgence and considerable concern around variants.)
Savoie is a solid player, but there’s a reason why he was projected as a middle of the draft pick. He’s not expected to be the next amazing player, but he is expected to be impactful. A solid number 16 with the potential to go up a little more… not someone we expect great things but not someone we look at and wonder why the Oilers wasted a draft pick on.
Savoie will have an opportunity to improve his game in the NCAA. He will need to build off his successful rookie season and show a commitment to continuing to improve his play without the puck, but Savoie has an excellent opportunity to continue to improve his ranking in the Oilers prospect pool. In the next two years or so, it would be expected to see Savoie join the Oilers system in the AHL.