Oilers Prospects Off to Hot Starts in CHL and NCAA

The Edmonton Oilers are off to a perfect start in the 2021-22 NHL season, with a 2-0-0 record after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 on Wednesday (October 13) and the Calgary Flames 5-2 on Saturday (October 16) at Rogers Place. Naturally, it’s Connor McDavid, with three goals, and Leon Draisatil, with four assists, who are leading the way in Edmonton.

And yet, even though things couldn’t be going any better for the Oilers, they’re still not going as good as things are for Edmonton’s top prospects in the college and major junior ranks.

The Oilers currently have rights to the second-leading scorer in NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey, and one of the hottest players in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Several of Edmonton’s other prospects are also off to good starts this season with their respective teams in the NCAA and Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

Xavier Bourgault

Bourgault, who Edmonton drafted 20th overall in July, has five goals and six assists in six games for the Shawinigan Cataractes. In the QMJHL, he sits sixth with a team-leading 11 points, while ranking seventh in goals and ninth in assists. He has been deadly with the man advantage, scoring three power-play goals, third-most in the QMJHL, and adding a pair of helpers on the power play.

Xavier Bourgault Shawinigan Cataractes
Xavier Bourgault of the Shawinigan Cataractes (Jean Levasseur)

The 18-year-old forward is on a five-game point streak and has at least two points and four shots in each of his last four outings. He recorded two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in Shawinigan’s road victory over the Charlottetown Islanders on Saturday (October 16).

After picking up just one win in their first four games of the season, the Cataractes have won three straight, all on the road, to move into fourth place in the Western Conference standings. They play on Wednesday (October 20) against the Victoriaville Tigres.

Bourgault had an impressive showing at Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team summer development camp, and turned heads last month at Oilers rookie camp, picking up a pair of assists in two exhibition games against the Flames rookies. His hot start to the QMJHL season should only improve his candidacy to make Canada’s roster for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being co-hosted by Edmonton.

Carter Savoie

The University of Denver Pioneers sophomore forward exploded for six points in an 8-0 win over Air Force on Saturday (October 16). The 100th overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Savoie had three goals, including the game-winner and two on the power play, to go with three assists to lead the Pioneers to victory.

Savoie has 11 points in four games, trailing only Arizona State Sun Devils sophomore Matthew Kopperud (13 points in six games) in the NCAA points race, and Savoie leads the nation with an average of 2.75 points per game. He’s got a plus-eight rating, second in the NCAA to teammate Bobby Brink (plus-nine).

With six assists, Savoie has already nearly equalled his total of seven in 24 games as a sophomore last season. Savoie’s hat trick against Air Force was the first of his collegiate career and the three assists and six points were also highs. The forward from St. Albert, Alberta, is coming off a standout 2020-21 season in which he was a unanimous National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) All-Rookie Team selection after leading all NCHC freshmen in goals (13), shots (85), power-play goals (seven) and game-winning goals (three).

Denver, which ranks eighth in the latest USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s College Hockey Poll, visit the No. 14 Providence Friars on Friday (October 22).

The Best of the Rest

Oshawa Generals forward Ty Tullio (drafted 126th overall by Edmonton in 2020) ranks second in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with seven assists and is tied for the OHL lead with four power-play assists. The 19-year-old also has a goal to give Tullio eight points in five games for the Generals, who are next in action against the Mississauga Steelheads on Friday (October 22).

North Bay Battalion winger Matvey Petrov (drafted 180th overall in 2021 by the Oilers) ranks seventh in the OHL for both goals (four) and shots (23). The 18-year-old Russian had a hat trick in his CHL debut against the Peterborough Petes on October 7. He has totalled six points in five games for the Battalion, who will host the Hamilton Bulldogs on Thursday (October 21).

Meanwhile, in the NCAA, two other Oilers’ prospects are producing at a point-per-game rate: centres Skyler Brind’Amour of No. 7-ranked Quinnipiac University (one goal, two assists in three games) and New Hampshire’s Filip Engarås (two goals and two assists in four games).

Related Link: 5 Oilers Prospects to Watch in College this Season

Much like the NHL, the college and junior seasons are just getting going, and it will be exciting for Edmonton fans to track the progress of the Oilers’ prospects in the weeks and months to follow as they continue to develop as players with pro potential.

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