This week’s edition of DP Draft Reports is headlined by Winnipeg Ice star Matthew Savoie who leads the WHL in scoring through the early part of the season with 39 points in 23 games. He entered the season as one of the top-ranked prospects for the 2022 NHL Draft and his stock has only gone up as he has been a driving force for the WHL’s best team.
North Bay defenseman Ty Nelson has gotten his OHL career off to a strong start, leading Battalion defenders in scoring with 18 points through his first 22 games while playing key defensive minutes. Another highly touted right-shot defenseman in Tristan Luneau, a former first-overall pick in the QMJHL, also makes his DP Draft Reports debut this week and he has recently started to find his game after recovering from an injury early in the season.
Rounding out this week’s reports are a couple of Swedish-based forwards in Liam Öhgren who has split time between Djurgårdens’ SHL and J20 squads, and Austrian import Marco Kasper of Rögle who has played more games and recorded more points in the SHL this season than any other draft-eligible player.
Enough preamble, let’s get to the game reports.
Matthew Savoie | C | Winnipeg vs. Lethbridge (WHL) | 2021-11-10
1 G, 3 A, 5 SOG, 16:43 TOI
AJ Gidaro: Matthew Savoie was impressive in the blowout win over Lethbridge, recording a point on four of Winnipeg’s five goals. He was incredibly dangerous in the offensive zone, displaying his high-end playmaking vision and quick, powerful shot. His speed and pace of play was tremendous, allowing him to open up space and create a ton of scoring chances. On the rush, he is a skilled puck carrier with a variety of tools that helped him facilitate controlled entries. He can blow by defenders with his explosive step or outmaneuver an opponent with his puck handling, and that was evident in this game.
There are not many 5-9 centers in the NHL but Savoie is definitely an exception and he is surprisingly resilient on the puck. When challenged physically, he fought off pressure well while escaping most engagements with control of the puck. Even in puck battles along the boards, Savoie was quick to engage and consistently came away with pucks – two of which lead directly to goals. Rarely was Lethbridge able to maintain possession which had a lot to do with Savoie’s pursuit on the backcheck and forecheck. He hounded opponents with speed and stick, forcing a number of turnovers.
There were a few instances where he would be going a little too fast and bobble or turnover over the puck but if he can play at a dynamic pace, he could control the ice more than he already does. Going into this year, I thought Shane Wright was the clear first overall pick but in my opinion, games like this one are pushing Matthew Savoie into that conversation.
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Tristan Luneau | RD | Gatineau vs. Rimouski (QMJHL) | 2021-11-27
1 G, 0 A, 4 SOG, 18:21 TOI
Brayden Olafson: As a 17-year-old defender, Tristan Luneau exudes a relatively high level of intimidation to his opponents, including those with similar size and a high level of skill. In this contest, despite his early goal on a quick-release long-range bomb from the right point, I thought he had a bit of a slower and less engaged start than what is typical for him. His early goal somewhat highlighted what I see as one of his most prominents strengths, which is an ability to optimize the effectiveness of his shots. Although not entirely utilized in this instance, his ability to walk the line with his head up