Members of the 2022 NHL draft class cannot show off their skills on the ice just yet, so they are spending a few days in a virtual classroom. Plus, a former junior captain gets his first professional contract and we look at an intriguing goaltending prospect.
Savoie Takes on Leadership Role
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the hockey landscape, especially when it comes to junior players across the globe. A group of talented young players was supposed to be taking the ice for Hockey Canada’s Under-17 Development Camp, but restrictions forced a change of plans.
There are 113 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) prospects who have been taking part in the virtual U17 development camp. Among the bunch, is Matthew Savoie of the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Winnipeg Ice. He is the only one of the 113 players who took part in last year’s U17 camp. The 16-year-old has embraced been a “veteran” leader during the online training sessions and seminars with CHL coaches.
“Some guys mentioned that they were nervous. The biggest advice I have is just be yourself and have fun with it,” Savoie said after the opening day of camp. “The coaches are emphasizing having fun and keeping a positive attitude. The most important thing is building relationships and chemistry with your hopefully later on teammates.”
Savoie played in 22 WHL games for the Ice last season, picking up seven assists. The 2022 NHL Entry Draft prospect is hoping to take the next step in 2020-21.
“Dipping my toe in the water and getting a little more comfortable with the league and the pace of play, I think that will be huge for next year,” Savoie added. “I won’t have to feel it out and I will already know what to expect. I think that will be huge, just knowing what I am going into.”
Maser Lands AHL Deal
Speaking of the WHL, former Prince George Cougars captain, Josh Maser, signed his first professional contract on Wednesday. He inked a one-year contract with the Iowa Wild, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Minnesota Wild.
The 21-year-old center has the size to jump right into the AHL at 6-foot-2 and 218 pounds. He led the Cougars in goals in each of the last two seasons. He scored a career-high 30 goals during the 2018-19 season and had 29 when this past season was paused and then ultimately canceled. In 218 career WHL games, Maser scored 90 goals and 143 points. His contract is an AHL deal only, so if he impresses the Minnesota brass, they would have to sign him to an NHL contract.
Iowa also announced the signings of defenseman Phil Beaulieu (NCAA), forward Kameron Kielly (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), and forward Jesse Mychan (Denmark) to one-year, two-way AHL / ECHL contracts for the 2020-21 season.
Prospect of the Day – Devon Levi
Today we take a look at one of the more interesting goaltending prospects heading into the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Levi is ranked as the eighth overall North American netminder by NHL Central Scouting. He jumped up nine spots from his midterm rank after a huge season with Carleton Place Canadians in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL).
Junior A players usually aren’t on too many NHL scouting radars, but Levi absolutely dominated his league this past season. He went 34-2-1 with a tremendous .947 save percentage (SV%), 1.47 goals-against average (GAA) and eight shutouts. He won a bevy of postseason awards including Best Goaltender, Most Valuable Player and Top Prospect.
Matthew Zator of THW thinks that Levi could be a nice find for a team in the late rounds.
According to many outlets, Levi could either be a late sixth or seventh-round pick or not be drafted at all. After his standout performances this season with the Canadians and Team Canada East, I don’t see that happening. He may not have the same potential as taller goaltenders like Jan Bednar and Drew Commesso, but he could still become something special in the NHL. I honestly see him going in the fifth or sixth-round, especially if all the other goaltenders are off the board.
Levi moves well in the crease and has the reflexes to turn into a professional goaltender. However, at just 6-foot-0, he is a bit smaller than today’s prototypical netminder, so he will have that stigma to overcome.
The road between the CCHL and the NHL is a long one, so if he drafted this year, it will be quite a while before we talk about Levi at the professional level. He is committed to Northeastern University for the upcoming season, so he is headed to a great program where he will face tougher competition and develop.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.