A look at what Matt Savoie offers to the Edmonton Oilers

There are plenty of people stunned the Oilers were able to land Matt Savoie as part of the Ryan McLeod trade, but what does he potentially bring to Edmonton?
Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres
Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres / Joshua Bessex/GettyImages

When we wrote on Thursday about Ryan McLeod being a genuine trade candidate for the Edmonton Oilers, we had no idea he was going to have a new team in effectively 24 hours. However, that's exactly what happened, after he was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, along with Tyler Tullio.

Certainly it's a shame to see McLeod leave, after having his best season yet in the NHL. With his talent, he has a long career ahead of him as valuable bottom-six player, albeit with the next stage now taking place in Western New York rather than North Alberta.

The main reason McLeod was moved, was due to the Oilers' much publicised need to get themselves back under the salary cap for next season. However, little could they have expected ahead of time that they would get a return package of someone like Matt Savoie, to make the trade a big win.

It's interesting that the Sabres would even offer Savoie, but one angle is about them wanting to swap potential for a cold, hard proven commodity to try and help them win right now. Regardless of the reasoning though, the Oilers now have an enticing prospect on their hands - in fact arguably slotting in right away as the number one prospect in their organisation.

Intriguing upside with Savoie

The Sabres selected the 20-year-old with the ninth overall pick in the 2022 NHL entry draft, which right away tells you about what he potentially now offers the Oilers. In fact, at one point there was even some talk of him possibly challenging to be the number one overall pick in the draft.

First up, we assume plenty of Oilers fans are familiar with the surname, given that older brother Carter Savie was also a member of the organisation until recently. He's coming off a decent season with the Bakersfield Condors, but the shame is he didn't receive a qualifying offer and is now an unrestricted free agent.

On the matter of the Condors, we would assume the younger Savoie will be beginning next season in the AHL as he looks to continue his progress and hone his skills. And without doubt, he has a lot of enticing skills on offer.

Savoie has blazing speed and is a good skater, with both assets helped by having a low centre of gravity. His sound puck-handling skills make him almost as dangerous setting up others, as he his with his own shot.

Versatility and options available to the Oilers

While Savoie is listed as a centre, he could quite conceivably have a future as a winger given his speed. Regardless, he's a tough son of a gun, who has had plenty of success so far on the power play, thus giving the Oilers more ways to utilise him.

In respect of intangibles, one recurring theme among scouting reports is that Savoie is unflappable under pressure, still able to make plays. Perhaps the only negative against the player is his size of 5 foot 10 and 179 pounds, although this hasn't stopped him so far on his journey to the NHL.

In this respect, Savoie did make his NHL debut with the Sabres this past season, albeit just 3:55 of ice time. He also had his first exposure to the AHL in 2023-24 and enjoyed success, with five points in six games.

it will have come as no surprise to see Savoie adapt so well, with him seemingly destined for success every step of the way. During his time in the WHL he excelled, with a phenomenal 263 points and +129 rating in 183 combined games for the Winnipeg Ice, Wenatchee Wild and Moose Jaw Warriors.

Further alluding to Savoie's ability to produce under pressure, he also produced 65 points and a +26 rating in 48 WHL playoff games. This included 24 points and +5 rating in 19 playoff games in 2023-24, as he helped the Warriors win their first ever Ed Chynoweth Cup.

Next. Leon Draisaitl's agent is all bluster regarding contract talks. Leon Draisaitl's agent is all bluster regarding contract talks. dark

Overall, we won't go as far as calling the trade a slam dunk win for the Oilers - McLeod deserves way more respect than that for what he's achieved. However, we would still say they came out as the winner versus the Sabres, with Savoie providing plenty of reason for optimism and excitement in the coming years.

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